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The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations - Learn One Definition a Day

Original Title in English:The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations
By Authors Graham Evans & Jeffery Newnham
Publisher Penguin Books, 1998, ISBN 978-0-140-51397-4
The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations provides an authoritative overview of this complex and constantly shifting subject. Ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict to weapons of mass destruction, this is an indispensable and comprehensive guide to the events, organisations, theories and concepts that are shaping today's global community.
Main features of the book:
  • Cover major events, from the Camp David Accords to Hiroshima;
  • Includes substantial articles on fundamental political and philosophical concepts, such as intervention, nationalism and just war;
  • Describes key organisations in detail, from the ANC to UNO;
  • Explains specialist terms, from agent-structure to zero-sum;
  • Provides summaries of key recent developments.
About the Author(s)
Graham Evans was educated at Jesus College, Oxford, and at the University of Wales, Swansea, where he is currently Senior Lecturer in International Relations. He has held visiting posts at the universities of Cape Town, Natal (Pietermaritzburg)and Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, and senior research fellowships at the South African Institute of International Affairs, Johannesburg, and the Centre for Southern African Studies at the University of the Western Cape. He has published extensively on international affairs and has also worked for the United Nations and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe as electoral supervisor in South Africa, Mozambique and Bosnia. He is a member of the Southern Africa Study Group at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House.
Jeffrey Newhnam was educated at University College London and lectures on American foreign policy at the University of Wales, Swansea. He co-authored (with Graham Evans) the Dictionary of World Politics (1989, 1992). His research interests include security studies and global economic relations.

The end of the Cold War proved traumatic for practitioners and theorists of International Relations (IR) alike. For over forty-five years after the end of World War II, the East-West conflict was regarded as the central factor in international affairs. Few areas of the world escaped its baleful influence in terms of either their domestic dispositions or their diplomatic orientations. Certainly in the dominant Anglo-American tradition of thinking and acting in foreign affairs, everything else seemed subordinate to it.That the Cold War lens afforded an extremely myopic and distorted view of international relations is now being gradually (though sometimes grudgingly) acknowledged: both by academic specialists in IR for whom the discipline has in an important sense been liberated and by foreign policy elites for whom this confrontational behavioural paradigm had achieved the status of an unquestioned 'grundnorm' from which virtually all policies and perspectives logically flowed. In the early 1990s this deceptively simplistic policies and ideational framework disappeared resulting in widespread uncertainty on the campus and in the chancellery about foreign policy agendas and the ranking of priorities and interests within them. Thus, not only did the end of the Cold War highlight serious shortcomings in the discipline of IR itself, it also robbed it of much of its empirical rationale since the main actors and problems it identified were located within the discourse of the Cold War standoff and its implications for the workings of the global system.
With hindsight it is easy to see that the events of the last quarter of 1989 in eastern Europe brought about a revolution in international relations comparable in scope to those of 1815, 1918 and 1945. That the 'New World Order' so confidently predicted by US President George Bush in the wake of the Persian Gulf War did not materialise and was followed instead by a spate of virulent, ethnically based conflicts and the disintegration of established orders, is beside the point: 1989 really did signal a fundamental change in both the scope and domain of world politics. The Penguin Dictionary of International Relations was conceived in part as an attempt to capture, record and evaluate the thinking that surrounds these developments and their uncertain aftermath.
Selection of entries was governed by three main considerations: 
  • first, those ideas, theories, concepts and events which we considered essential to any sophisticated understanding of IR (e.g. Diplomacy, International Law, National Interest);
  • second, those which are only likely to be encountered in specialised texts or journals (Unit Veto, Agent-structure, Neorealism);
  • and third, those which indicate developments and shifts of understanding which have greatly affected the subject since the end of the Cold War (Nineteen eighty-nine, Critical theory, Ethnic cleansing).
Other Penguin Dictionary series:
The Penguin International Dictionary of Finance by Graham Bannock
The Penguin Dictionary of Geography by Audrey N. Clark
The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology by Nicholas Abercrombie, Stephen Hill and Bryan S. Turner

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