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Keen Political Bean! - Reading List

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    (Me? Procrastinating? No.... :P)

    So hoping to study Politics this september (Politics and International Relations with a year in Hong Kong at the University of Kent) and as a keen bean I was wondering what kind of books I should read beforehand?

    Also perhaps any good films/television programme/documentaries that would be useful/watchable/creditable to use in essays? Already have a collection of books so was wondering if I could branch out to films... (Anyone watched Recount? Any good?)

    So applicants, people currently in uninversity? Any advice? Let's just make this thread a general Political Reading list
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    If you want textbooks Understanding International Relations by Chris Brown and Kiersten Ainley is quite good, but to be honest I'm a bit biased because they're both my professors and I quite like them. The Globalization of World Politics by Baylis, Smith and Owens (eds) is quite a good general introduction too. It pretty much touches on a bit of everything from theories both mainstream and critical to IPE, security, nationalism, nuclear proliferation, etc... Other than that, it would really depend on what you're interested in.
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    (Original post by aftrglw)
    If you want textbooks Understanding International Relations by Chris Brown and Kiersten Ainley is quite good, but to be honest I'm a bit biased because they're both my professors and I quite like them. The Globalization of World Politics by Baylis, Smith and Owens (eds) is quite a good general introduction too. It pretty much touches on a bit of everything from theories both mainstream and critical to IPE, security, nationalism, nuclear proliferation, etc... Other than that, it would really depend on what you're interested in.
    Ah thanks! Yeah The Globalization of World Politics is already on my Amazon Wish List :P Oh wow i'll have a look at Understanding Internation Relations

    Would you recommend buying these books by the way or borrow from the library? Got a few textbooks already but debating whether or not I should get more new/second hand or borrow from the library.
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    It just depends on what you can afford and prefer. I bought them, but I don't use them too much in day to day IR... I like to buy books being a bit of a bibliophile, but with the amount of books that we just read a little bit of in IR I've pretty much only used the library since buying a few basic books at the beginning. You may want to look at getting a reference book, too. I bought Reus-Smit and Snidal (eds) The Oxford Handbook of International Relations and have found it pretty helpful in revision, because most of the articles are by respected theorists on the topic (e.g. the introduction to Realism is by Walt, the one on Liberal Internationalism by Moravscik, Ethics by Nardin, Int Law by Byers, etc). I have friends who bought the Carlsnaes, Risse and Simmons (eds) Handbook of International Relations and swear by it. Both of those are primarily reference books and would be good to have, but maybe aren't the best summer reading (particularly because the Oxford one is a brick).

    I assume you follow current affairs being an IR student, so you probably know this but... Foreign Policy, Foreign Affairs and The Economist are pretty standard IR news sources and Foreign Affairs has some (really simplified and brief) scholarly/theoretical articles. I would recommend more scholarly IR journals to you, but they're stupidly expensive and you'll get access to them anyway when you get to school. That should be enough to get you tired of IR over summer... happy reading!
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    Global Politics by Andrew Heywood is a good book, will teach you everything you know from the Baylis, Smith and Owens book in a slightly simpler manner. It also contains a breakdown of the topic/chapter at the end in the form of tables which are useful when it comes to revising IR.

    International Relations Theories by Dunne, Kurki and Smith would also probably come in handy - walks you quite comprehensively through most of the dominant IR theories you'll be required to know. Certainly for your first year.
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    Wow thanks guys! I'm just spoilt for choice now haha :P Yeah seen Andrew Heywoods name cropping up a lot so definitely will look into his books - simplified reading at this point is fine for me! :P

    Would any of you recommend any books from the very short introduction series? I have a few books from it (non political) and I love having a collection of something so are they worth a read?
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    I'm not really sure about that, although I have one on Anthropology and it seems like quite a nice little book with the essentials. They're often written by well-known and respected academics so they're probably quite useful.

    At the moment I'm reading Globalisation and its Discontents by Joseph Stiglitz as he is a visiting professor at my University and a world authority on the subject. Recommend it for a critical evaluation of Globalisation.
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    A VS Introduction to Political Theory is good, which I have.

    Look into your courses. We can't give broad advice really. My politics course is very specific and isn't really taught elsewhere (very specific parts of democracy). And some are more broad - one course is pretty much the entirety of European Politics from 1789.

    Anything from Hobsbawm is good.
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    Forgot the most important, Drezner's Theory of International Politics and Zombies. With passages like:

    Space constraints prevent a fuller discussion of how some theories - such as Marxism or feminism - would cope with flesh-easting ghouls; they would appear to have more explanatory leverage in analyzing the traditional Haitian or voodoo zombies. I would ordinarily encourage these paradigms to focus on flesh-eating ghouls, but in this instance I am wary. To be blunt, this project is explicitly prohuman, whereas Marxists and feminists would likely sympathize more with the zombies. To Marxists, the undead symbolize the oppressed proletariat. Unless the zombies were all undead white males, feminists would likely welcome the posthuman smashing of existing patriarchal structures.

    How could you go wrong?
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    Haha sounds good :P Can anyone recommend a film that might be good to watch? Or should I just stick to good old quality books :P

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