University of Sussex Business School

The Politics of Foreign Policy (L2090)

The Politics of Foreign Policy

Module L2090

Module details for 2019/20.

15 credits

FHEQ Level 5

Module Outline

Dr Stefanie Ortmann.

Who acts in international relations, and why? All too often, in IR theory the answer seems to be states, or other collective actors, with their interactions determined by the logic of broad systemic forces. This however leaves out that actors may have choices, and how they arrive at such choices. Foreign policy making is a political process with domestic implications, and concepts such as 'the national interest' are by no means as clear and uncontested as foreign policy elites would like to make out. The module draws on classical and critical literature in foreign policy analysis to explore the broad tension between agency and structure (domestic and international) in international politics. It asks how decision-making in international politics may be less than rational, for a variety of reasons; how lobby groups and (perhaps) public opinion may influence foreign policy, and whether foreign policy still matters in an age of globalization. The module will conclude with a look at the contemporary foreign policies of selected states.

Assessed by 3k Essay

Module learning outcomes

Demonstrate a theoretical appreciation of the meaning of foreign policy in contemporary global politics.

Demonstrate an empirical appreciation of the key contemporary issues in foreign policy.

Demonstrate critical thinking and reasoning skills in writing about the analysis of foreign policy.

Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
PortfolioT2 Week 7 100.00%
Essay (2000 words)Semester 2 Assessment Week 2 Tue 16:0080.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterSeminar1 hour11111111111
Spring SemesterLecture1 hour11111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Mx Emilia Moscardini-Powers

Assess convenor

Dr Earl Gammon

Assess convenor

Dr Stefanie Ortmann


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