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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $81.00
  • July 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-92709-2
  • 530 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

World Politics

Interests, Interactions, Institutions


Jeffry A. Frieden (Author, Harvard University), David A. Lake (Author, University of California, San Diego), Kenneth A. Schultz (Author, Stanford University)


A contemporary analytical approach to international relations—written at a level that introductory students can grasp.

Why are there wars? Why do countries have a hard time cooperating to prevent genocides or global environmental problems? Why are some countries rich while others are poor? Organized around the puzzles that draw scholars and students alike to the study of world politics, this book gives students the tools they need to think analytically about compelling questions like these.

World Politics introduces a contemporary analytical framework based on interests, interactions, and institutions. Drawing extensively on recent research, the authors use this flexible framework throughout the text to get students thinking like political scientists as they explore the major topics in international relations.


Endorsements & Reviews

“It brings a new and almost intuitive framework to the analysis of issues by focusing on the interests involved. More important, it does not limit itself to one major paradigm, as realists, liberals, radicals, and even constructivists can use the idea of interests/interactions/institutions as a springboard.” — Michael Kanner, University of Colorado, Boulder

“There is no question that Frieden/Lake/Schultz is one of the best IR textbooks out there.” — Tobias Hofmann, College of William & Mary

“Frieden, Lake, and Schultz provide an introductory textbook that offers an integrated framework for analysis and exposes students to cutting-edge research in international relations, while remaining easily readable and accessible to students. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching with it.” — Ashley Leeds, Rice University

“I find the interests/interactions/institutions approach to be quite useful and quite clear.” — Stephen Saideman, McGill University

“This text offers a nice alternative to the 'isms' approach to teaching introductory international relations. It is theoretically rich but takes care to couple abstract concepts with memorable examples that solidify students' understanding.” — Todd Sechser, University of Virginia

“More analytically rigorous than some current texts, but also one that is written at a level that students in an introductory course can follow.” — Layna Mosley, University of North Carolina,Chapel Hill

“The chapter on international financial relations has made a complex topic very accessible.” — Andrew Cortell, Lewis & Clark College

“I really like the chapter on domestic politics and war and think it’s very well executed. It provides clear, insightful arguments about the different ways in which domestic politics can lead to war.” — Todd Allee, University of Illinois

“I love the capstone chapter. How can I sum up a semester? This chapter shows me how. I like the way it weaves theory and history together with policy and normative concerns to address questions about probable futures. It provides an innovative and satisfying conclusion to a very interesting and promising approach.” — Darren Hawkins, Brigham Young University

“An outstanding text overall. This text is an improvement on other books and will be welcomed by many.” — Idean Salehyan, University of North Texas

“The best international relations textbook that I’ve used. A well-organized and rigorous approach to the topic which introduces students to strategic bargaining and game theoretical concepts in a way that is accessible for all.” — Andrew Konitzer, Samford University

“This text reflects the most exciting developments in international relations research over the last 15 years. It is probably the best introductory text on international relations I have ever seen.” — Megan Shannon, University of Mississippi

“Well written and thoughtful and gives enough but not too much theory.” — Ron Mitchell, University of Oregon

“Head and shoulders above anything else out there.” — David Leblang, University of Virginia

“Organized around a series of 'puzzles,' this book perfectly balances the key theoretical notions at the foundation of the strategic approach with a genuine concern for real-world issues.” — Renato Corbetta, University of Alabama, Birmingham

“A major contribution to the existing selection of introductory IR textbooks. I liked the analytical structure of the text very much. The consistency in themes and emphasis on a core analytical framework was most helpful.” — Lisa Martin, University of Wisconsin

“Written in an exceptionally clear and engaging style.” — Patricia Sullivan, University of Georgia

“This text strikes me as precisely the right way to go. The text is able to address a broad array of issues/topics and to do so in a unified fashion that focuses on scientific inquiry.” — Will Moore, Florida State University

“This book looks much better than any of the others I’ve seen.” — Chad Rector, George Washington University

“I think the framework is an excellent one for an introductory text. Indeed, I will certainly use the book in my course for this reason.” — Glenn Palmer, Pennsylvania State University

“Much, much better than the other options I have considered. This book gets away from the stale debate between contending 'Isms' and makes it much easier to tell students about current research.” — Benjamin Fordham, Binghamton University

A contemporary analytical framework

How can students make sense of the myriad international issues and events that confront them everyday? World Politics provides a simple framework (based on interests, interactions, and institutions) to help students understand and analyze world politics.

With World Politics, students don’t just learn about international politics—they learn how to think about international politics. When complex or puzzling things happen in the world, students will be able to ask, “Whose interests did that outcome serve? Why were the people or countries involved not able to cooperate to achieve something better? How might new institutions be created, or existing institutions reformed, so that this does not happen again?”

A “problem-oriented” approach

World Politics is organized around “eleven puzzles in search of explanations,” with each chapter’s analysis focused on major questions in world politics today.

  • Chapter-opening puzzles and vignettes introduce a question or set of questions that lack obvious answers, drawing students into the topic and setting up an analytical hook for the chapter’s analysis.  Within the chapter, the authors use the interests/interactions/institutions framework, contemporary research findings, and illustrative cases to explore the “puzzle” and lead students to a deeper understanding of world politics.
  • “Core of the Analysis” sections in each chapter introduction preview how interests, interactions, and institutions will be relevant in the chapter’s analysis.
  • “Reviewing Interests, Interactions, and Institutions” boxes at the end of each chapter reinforce key points related to the framework.

Accessible and engaging

Successfully class-tested by over 2,500 students and instructors, World Politics has proved accessible and engaging for introductory students. Reviewers and adopters praise the authors’ clear exposition and ability to make theory and analysis easily understandable.

Because many students have a strong interest in contemporary ethical questions, World Politics includes “Controversy” sections on hot policy issues such as:

  • Should we negotiate with “rogue” states like North Korea?
  • Who should bear the costs of cleaning up the environment, developed or developing states?
  • Does the WTO hurt the global poor?

“What Shaped Our World” units help students understand past events using the analytical tools in each chapter. Historical cases include:

  • How efforts at prevention and preemption led to the start of World War I
  • How the European Union managed to agree on a common economic system and currency despite the diverse, often conflicting interests of the individual countries
  • How Al Qaeda evolved out of the anticommunist resistance in Afghanistan in the 1980s

All the tools teachers need to teach

The World Politics package makes it easy for instructors to use the text’s framework— and helps them make sure their students are mastering the material.

  • The Instructor’s Manual (Brian Potter, College of New Jersey) contains chapter overviews; lecture outlines; key terms; teaching suggestions; contemporary applications of chapter topics; discussion questions; reading, film, and web references; and a table demonstrating the relationship between the “Ism’s” and the “I’s”.
  • The Test Bank (Nancy Lapp, California State University, Sacramento, with contributions by Lisa Martin, University of Wisconsin) contains 55—65 multiple-choice and 5–10 essay questions per chapter.
  • Powerpoints (Todd Sechser, University of Virginia) integrate thorough lecture notes with diagrams, figures, and maps from the text.
  • The Instructor’s Resource Disc includes lecture slides, drawn art, and photos from the text, all in a variety of formats.
  • StudySpace, Norton’s free website for students, presents an array of review materials, using the analytical framework of the text. The website includes innovative simulations and exercises that allow students to think critically and to experience the decision-making process.

    Part One: Foundations

    Chapter 1: What Shaped Our World: A Historical Introduction

    Chapter 2: Understanding Interests, Interactions, and Institutions

    Part Two: War and Peace

    Chapter 3: Why Are There Wars?

    Chapter 4: Domestic Politics and War

    Chapter 5: International Institutions and War

    Part Three: International Political Economy

    Chapter 6: International Trade

    Chapter 7: International Financial Relations

    Chapter 8: International Monetary Relations

    Chapter 9: Development: Causes of the Wealth and Poverty of Nations

    Part Four: Transnational Politics

    Chapter 10: Transnational Networks

    Chapter 11: Human Rights

    Chapter 12: The Global Environment

    Part Five: Looking Ahead

    Chapter 13: The Future of International Politics