Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM167: Global Governance: Institutions and Challenges

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Module Aims

The aim of the module is to equip you with the necessary tools to understand how global life is governed in the absence of a world government. The objective is to enquire into the nature of global governance at a moment in time when uncertainties reign; state power is eroded; new powerful non-state actors are becoming stronger; novel patterns of governance are emerging; global political and economic power is continuously transformed and redistributed; the world is becoming wealthier, but inequality is still rife; the climate is changing; populism is on the rise; security risks are changing; improving health in parts of the globe are juxtaposed to ill health in others.    

You will learn to use theories and empirical research findings from the fields of international relations, public policy and politics in order to understand the role of, as well as the way in which global institutions and actors deal with global problems. The different perspectives will be put to work, illustrated and evaluated against the backdrop of crucial challenges constituting today’s global policy environment:

  • Democratization and Human Rights
  • International Institutions of Global Finance
  • World Trade & Tariffs
  • Economic Development, Poverty and Global Inequalities
  • Public Health in a Global Context
  • Climate Change and Migration
  • Global (in)security

The module asks the following fundamental questions. What is the meaning of global governance and how can the concept be juxtaposed to the idea of a world government? What is happening to the power of the nation state? Are new actors emerging and which ones? How is authority relocated? What is good governance? What are the normative principles driving global governance? Does global governance have an ideology? Which world political, economic and legal order in the era of global governance? How is governance exercised within and across the world in the early 21st century? What are the major challenges for global governance? Is global governance achieving its goals? How can global governance be made more effective and accountable? How do policies enter the global agenda? How and from whom are global policies designed, decided and implemented?

In order to answer these questions you will draw on an interdisciplinary body of past theoretical and empirical studies, as well as emerging frontier research in the fields of international relations, public policy and comparative politics, with a specific focus on global governance.

In accordance with  the teaching and learning logic of the MSc in Global Governance, teaching in the core module is research-led, ensuring that what you learn will be cutting edge and at the heart of contemporary public debate. You will also be expected to take the role of researcher yourself and produce your own research as well as comment on research of your peers.

Learning is student-led. In practice, this consists of two core activities:

  • Extensive reading and reflection in preparation for the seminar discussions
  • Group work, class debate and discussions, small-group and individual presentations.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here - you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. Articulate in detail the concepts and theories on global governance institutions and global policy challenges.
2. Apply theories and empirical findings from past and frontier research in global governance, international relations, public policy and politics in order to explain and critically appraise the role of global governance actors and institutions in addressing global policy challenges.
Discipline-Specific Skills3. Find, use and critically analyse a range of material, including empirical and theoretical studies published in scientific journals, books and conference papers; policy reports and guidelines published by governments, administrations and international organisations; news and internet items.
4. Critically analyse both empirical and theoretical material by applying theoretical arguments to empirical case studies.
Personal and Key Skills5. Communicate ideas effectively both formally during presentations and informally during class discussions.
6. Communicate ideas effectively in a given number of words in written form.
7. Work independently and in groups under tight time constraints.