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Unit information: International Organisations and Global Governance in 2015/16

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Unit name International Organisations and Global Governance
Unit code SPAI20017
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Tucker
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit will introduce students to the array of organisations and structures that comprise global governance, and to the key debates and controversies they have generated. Focusing on the work of key international organisations, including the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and World Bank, and key areas of global governance, including global trade governance, global environmental governance, and the governance of refugees and migration, it will help students understand the challenge of implementing effective, fair and democratic global governance. It will also provide them with the understanding and concepts required to analyse and critically evaluate existing global governance arrangements, and to consider how and why these arrangements might be improved.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will have:

  1. a broad understanding of the role of key international organisations in world politics and the contours of contemporary global governance;
  2. a broad understanding of the theoretical approaches that have been applied to the study of international organisations and global governance;
  3. the ability to analyse and evaluate existing global governance arrangements in a range of areas, including trade, environmental and migration governance;
  4. the ability to construct and present persuasive, well-substantiated arguments in relation to international organisations and global governance in written work.

Teaching details

  • One hour lecture per week
  • One hour seminar per week
  • One two-hour tutor-led research workshop every other week

Assessment Details

  1. 1500 word report based on a group research project (the project will also form the basis of group presentations) (25%)
  2. 2-hour written exam (75%).

Both pieces of summative assessment will assess all the learning outcomes.

Reading and References

  • Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore, Rules for the World: International Organisations in Global Politics (Cornell University Press, 2004)
  • Sophie Harman and David Williams (eds.), Governing the World? Cases in Global Governance (Routledge, 2013)
  • Ian Goldin, Divided Nations: Why global governance is failing, and what we can do about it (Oxford University Press, 2013)
  • Margaret Karns and Karen Mingst, International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance (Lynne Riener, 2009)
  • Thomas Weiss and Ramesh Thakur, Global Governance and the UN: An Unfinished Journey (Indiana University Press, 2010)
  • Thomas Weiss and Rorden Wilkinson (eds.), International Organisation and Global Governance (Routledge, 2014)