Centre interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux stratégiques (CIENS)

Year 2023-2024 > Semester 1

Theories and political sociology of international relations

S1, 24 hours, 12 sessions, 6 credits (ECTS)

Tuesday 10:30am-12:30pm | Salle Assia Djebar (at 29 rue d’Ulm)

Pierre Ramond




To be defined


September 202319, 26October 20233, 10, 17, 24November 20237, 14, 21, 28 December 20235, 12

Course registration

The course is part of the Humanités PSL Middle East-Mediterranean Master’s program and the teaching offer of the Centre Interdisciplinaire sur les enjeux stratégiques (CIENS).

The course can also be validated as part of the DENS Geopolitics and Diplomacy minor, the Public Policies course, and (to be confirmed) the DENS European Studies minor.


The study of international relations is marked by a paradox. On the one hand, politics, social interactions and power struggles seem to be increasingly transnational: the economy, health, trade, family life, corporate power relations and food depend increasingly on global, international and cross-border developments. Despite this, international relations theories are relatively little known: they are not a full-fledged academic discipline in France, and most of the main theorists of International Relations have not been translated into French, with rare exceptions.

This course aims to fill this gap and provide conceptual and methodological tools for studying global and international phenomena. How can theories of international relations be used to study transnational objects? How can we integrate an international perspective into political sociology? Is it necessary to invent new theoretical frameworks to understand phenomena embedded in globalization, or should we simply adapt the tools of political sociology to phenomena whose scale is changing, but not their nature?

To answer these questions, this seminar proposes a series of 12 sessions, each made up of three parts: 1) a 1h/1h20 lecture on the theories, approaches and methods of international relations 2) a weekly reading of an article to be discussed in class 3) a presentation aimed at applying the theories and methods of international relations studies to a concrete, contemporary subject, linked to the students’ research topics.

Teaching objectives

Become familiar with classic and contemporary works in international relations theory.

Understand the main concepts and methods of studying international relations, either to provide additional tools for the research students will be carrying out as part of their research, or to prepare for national administration exams (Quai d’Orsay, ENA).

Understand who the players in international relations are, how the international relations scene is constituted; reflect on changes in international relations practices, for those planning to work in diplomacy, in the international civil service, or in international organizations.


(in groups) Presentation on a topic related to the course for which students wish to validate the teaching. Presentation topics, as indicated in the session plan below, will be assigned at the first session of the year. 40% of final grade.

(individual) Reading sheet on a work from the bibliography (due by the ninth session). 50% of final grade

(individual) Participation in discussion of weekly reading (10% of final grade).

Details of the reading sheet

The reading sheet must be handed in printed for the ninth session and sent digitally beforehand by e-mail, specifying “Théories des relations internationales | Fiche de lecture” in the subject line; the title of the Word document must be RI. NAME.FIRSTNAME.docs).

The book is chosen from the bibliography. It must be one of the works marked with an asterisk, unless an exemption is granted by the teacher.

The following points should be covered:

Presentation of the author and the context in which the book was published (1 point)

Presentation of the book’s central thesis, the main ideas behind it, the arguments used to defend them and the sources used. Presentation of the plan of the book and its main articulations. (8 points)

Critical analysis of the author’s thesis (10 points): a) What do you think of the author’s thesis, based on what you’ve learned from the course and your other readings? Is the demonstration convincing? Are the data sufficient to support and nourish the argument? (6 points) b) What questions does reading this book raise for you? (4 points)

Presentation will also be marked out of one: Word document, Times New Roman, Font 12, single-spaced. Presentation must be coherent and clear.

Length 10,000 characters including spaces, with a margin of +/- 10%.

The document must be accompanied by a bibliography related to the subject, which does not count towards the 10000 sign limit.

Les autres enseignements du même semestre