Faculty of Arts

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

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FacultyFaculty of Arts
Organisational UnitSchool of Social Science, South Africa
OfferedNot offered in 2013
Coordinator(s)Dr Scott Firsing


Basic understandings of diplomacy in international relations are developed: what diplomacy is, what it entails (structure, process, agenda), what some of the complexities, anomalies and challenges are. Follows the historical trajectory of diplomacy in international relations and deliberates upon what are seen as key historical junctures. Seeks to link the relevance of diplomacy to current international issues, events, relations, and nuances. The course is theoretically grounded and practically useful. Relevance is tied directly to contemporary examples and case studies.


The objectives lie within five inter-related bands. These concern:

  1. factual information
  2. sources and resources
  3. conceptual definition
  4. academic debates
  5. analytic communication skills.

Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of and familiarity with the following types of information, academic perspectives and skills:

  1. Knowledge of the divergent structures, processes, and agendas that exist in multi-issue areas of diplomacy
  2. An appreciation of the complexities, problems, anomalies, and challenges that diplomatic negotiations undergo
  3. An understanding of what it means to be a diplomat, to partake of diplomatic functions and duties
  4. Grounding in the theoretical and normative debates, discourses, and perspectives underpinning foreign policy decision making
  5. A familiarity of key terminologies such as foreign policy, game theory, levels of analysis, rational choice theory, bureaucratic politics model, group think, instrumental rationality, procedural rationality, policy agenda, mediation, arbitration, negotiation, sanctions, carrot and stick approach, brokering, brinkmanship policies
  6. Experience in conducting independent research and writing tasks, utilising a wide array of primary, secondary, visual, and electronic resources
  7. Improved oral, debating, presentation, and writing skills
  8. Students undertaking this unit at a third year level will be expected to meet all these objective criteria at a higher level of demonstrable and proven competency than those completing the unit at a second year level.


Tutorial participation and presentations: 10%
Essay related work (3,000 words): 60%
Class test (1 hour): 30%

Chief examiner(s)

Contact hours

One 2-hours lecture per week
one 1-hour tutorial
9 hours of private study per week.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


ATS2641, ATS3641, AZA2641