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Theories of International Politics and Zombies [Paperback]

Daniel W. Drezner
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

23 Jan 2011

What would happen to international politics if the dead rose from the grave and started to eat the living? Daniel Drezner's groundbreaking book answers the question that other international relations scholars have been too scared to ask. Addressing timely issues with analytical bite, Drezner looks at how well-known theories from international relations might be applied to a war with zombies. Exploring the plots of popular zombie films, songs, and books, Theories of International Politics and Zombies predicts realistic scenarios for the political stage in the face of a zombie threat and considers how valid--or how rotten--such scenarios might be.

Drezner boldly lurches into the breach and "stress tests" the ways that different approaches to world politics would explain policy responses to the living dead. He examines the most prominent international relations theories--including realism, liberalism, constructivism, neoconservatism, and bureaucratic politics--and decomposes their predictions. He digs into prominent zombie films and novels, such as Night of the Living Dead and World War Z, to see where essential theories hold up and where they would stumble and fall. Drezner argues that by thinking about outside-of-the-box threats we get a cognitive grip on what former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld famously referred to as the "unknown unknowns" in international security.

Correcting the zombie gap in international relations thinking and addressing the genuine but publicly unacknowledged fear of the dead rising from the grave, Theories of International Politics and Zombies presents political tactics and strategies accessible enough for any zombie to digest.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (23 Jan 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691147833
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691147833
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 11.6 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Honorable Mention for the 2011 PROSE Award in Government & Politics, Association of American Publishers

"Drezner . . . comes up with an intriguing intellectual conceit to explain various schools of international political theory. He imagines a world overrun with zombies and considers the likely responses of national governments, the U.N and other international organizations, and nongovernment organizations (NGOs). . . . This slim book is an imaginative and very helpful way to introduce its subject--who knew international relations could be this much fun?"--Publishers Weekly

"A light, breezy volume, TIPZ is a valuable primer in international relations theory for laypeople, and thank God for that--it's been a long time coming. But Drezner's real genius is that he's written a stinging postmodern critique of IR theorists themselves, applying the full force of their structured reasoning to topics as diverse as Michael Jackson's breakdancing zombies, Peter Jackson's lesser film canon, and romantic zombie comedy flicks--'rom zom coms,' as he puts it. It's both a pedagogical text and a lampoon of pedagogy. . . . Theories of International Politics and Zombies is one hell of an important tome."--Adam Weinstein, Mother Jones

"Besides offering a condensed and accessible survey of how various schools of international-relations theory would respond, he reviews the implications of a zombie crisis for a nation's internal politics and its psychosocial impact. He also considers the role of standard bureaucratic dynamics on managing the effects of relentless insurgency by the living dead. While a quick and entertaining read, Theories of International Politics and Zombies is a useful introductory textbook on public policy--as well as a definitive monograph for the field of zombie studies."--Scott McLemee, Inside HigherEd

"If the dynamics of international politics have conventionally been understood in terms of the quick and the dead, Daniel Drezner invites us to consider another way of being--undead, or 'differently animated.' This ontological category emerges from the world of popular culture in which the 'zombie canon has a distinctive place. In drawing together the interpretation of popular culture and international politics, Drezner provides much food for thought--the food in this case being human flesh, of which zombies are notoriously fond. . . . [D]rezner elucidates the often-arcane world of international theory in an interesting and highly amusing way. He also shows how close the relationship between politics and popular culture is, how the latter can convey social and political critique in the most unlikely ways, and why satire remains such an important form of that critique."--Stephanie Lawson, Times Higher Education

"Juxtaposing George A. Romero with Donald Rumsfeld to make real-world 'predictions,' Daniel W. Drezner's Theories of International Politics & Zombies . . . explores feasible scenarios for the political stage contrasted with an undead threat, the objective being to render just 'how valid--or how rotten--such scenarios might be.' No man seems better qualified for this exposé than Drezner, whose bio credentials list him as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Zombie Research Society."--Fangoria

"In addition to wargaming various zombie scenarios, Drezner's book serves as an entertaining primer on the distinctions between several theories of international politics."--Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason

"In the end, Drezner's task is to lead a tour through academic Graceland, pretending political theories are serious business, while mocking academia's obsession with political theories, which any person with common sense knows too often fail to predict real world outcomes. A political science book about zombies is funny not because of the zombies, but because political science treats them like everything else. The juxtaposition of the two brings out the best in both."--Jessica Palmer, Biophemera blog

"[Theories] of International Politics and Zombies is clever, nicely dissecting the strengths and weaknesses of different theories and offering observations about how, for instance, constructivists should destroy all previously published-zombie-apocalypse movies, lest people actually act as selfishly as most characters in those films do. While most zombie narratives start after government has failed, Drezner is far more optimistic that through cooperation, humanity would survive a zombie outbreak."--Samantha Nelson, A.V. Club

"Smart, funny, creative, and thought provoking, Theories of International Politics and Zombies is a worthwhile and engaging read, and is essential reading for all political leaders if the fight against zombies is ever to be won."--Sara Yasin, LSE British Politics and Policy blog

"[A]n amusing primer on IR theory, a comprehensible introduction to the tenets of liberalism, neo-conservatism, social constructivism, bureaucratic politics, realpolitik, and insight into their plausible responses to a new type of threat."--San Francisco Book Review

"It's attractive quality is, of course, its flesh-eating meta-theme, but the work is successful for its clear, comparative introduction to international relations theory. . . . Drezner's work frequently leaves the reader hungry for more discussion."--Choice

"Overall, this is an accessible first introduction for students unfamiliar with the philosophical side of international relations."--Christopher Housenick, Political Studies Review

"Drezner's easy prose and simple explanations will make his book a favorite among college students, and academics will appreciate his consistent references and bibliography. The simplicity of the book and the theme of zombies will likely make international politics less intimidating and more accessible to beginners."--Anna B.Creagh, Leonardo Reviews

From the Back Cover

"One of the most creative books about international relations you will ever read and one of the smartest."--Peter Beinart, author of The Icarus Syndrome

"Bless Dan Drezner for this book which punches huge holes in the hokum of American foreign policy thinking. Our theories in this business have been thin and often very costly, and if it takes Drezner's 'zombie attack' to puncture their bloat, so be it. Besides, the book is fun."--Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and former New York Times columnist

"Drezner is to the zombie attack what Thucydides is to the Peloponnesian War--he is its great chronicler. As witty as he is insightful, Drezner has taken old ideas and traditions in international relations and brought them back to life."--G. John Ikenberry, Princeton University

"This book fills a gnawing gap in the international relations literature and adds flesh to those bones by communicating key international relations theories in a fresh, fun, and effective way."--Daniel Nexon, Georgetown University

"This interesting, thoughtful, and engaging book nicely integrates the classics of zombie work with theories of international politics to make sense of human--and nonhuman--behavior. This is the only international politics textbook that will make students frequently laugh and think at the same time. Indeed, this textbook is food for brains, which may, of course, only attract more zombies."--Stephen Saideman, McGill University


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb. 6 Mar 2011
By Stefan VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
In August 2009, Professor Drezner, who blogs for Foreign Policy magazine, wrote a short piece about how international relations theories might apply in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. Not only did Drezner do it very well, and in a manner that should make anyone familiar with IR theory chuckle, but it also opened up the possibility that those who automatically shudder at the word `theory' could actually understand and enjoy what Drezner was writing about, and gain an understanding of IR theory in the process. It was the perfect vehicle to bring a greater understanding of the theories that inform international interactions to a wider audience: it was fun, intelligent and quirky, and therefore likely to stick in one's mind. [As someone who has taught Intro to IR Theory, I can tell you that this is very important.]

Drezner's conclusions are brought together in a very concise final chapter that ably demonstrates the similarities, strengths and weaknesses of the theories he's discussed. He has hoped to show that when zombies walk the earth, it is not the end of humanity, and that international theory can offer a handle with which to approach this shambling threat.

Some of the jokes and references in this book might go a bit over some readers' heads, or may pass completely unnoticed, but only because the reader may not get the significance of some apparently-mundane phrases that are actually paraphrased `jargon' of the various theories. Despite this, however, there is no doubt that Drezner has written a book that is both fun and also academically sound. I am certain that the world can now breathe easy knowing that global governments might be just that little bit more prepared to deal with any future zombie apocalypse.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilariously intelligent 30 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Aside from being absolutely hilarious, this title provides an excellent introduction to the leading theories of international relations in a manner easily accessible to all. I would highly recommend it as a springboard for any aspiring international relations / politics student, or zombie enthusiast looking to understand what could likely be the 'bigger picture' of their post-apocalyptic zombie survival experience.

My only issue is that the author discounts M. Jackson's (1982) 'the evil of the Thriller' as a legitimate cause for any initial zombie outbreak.
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5.0 out of 5 stars really good 28 Jan 2012
By Nath
Format:Paperback
amazing book. I used it for interpol revision for exams, and it really helped highlight the basic ideas and theories of international politics
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