What can international relations scholarship tell us about the global political system? This innovative text examines the contribution made by the principal schools of international relations to our understanding of the global system and draws on them to analyze some crucial issues for 21st century politics. Elegantly synthesising history and theory, this text introduces the concepts that have been used to explain the politics and policies of the global system. It challenges the dominance of purely state-based approaches and shows how non-state-based approaches are essential for a full and integrated understanding of today's global politics. Using both approaches, the author examines key issues in contemporary world politics, from international security to economic stability and migration to human rights.