Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3282: World Orders: Past, Present, and Future

This module descriptor refers to the 2023/4 academic year.


NQF Level 6
Credits 30 ECTS Value 15
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks) and term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Gregorio Bettiza (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


What kind of international system do we inhabit today? What is its history and what does its future look like? This module invites students to reflect on these ‘big’ questions about international relations through the conceptual lens of world order(s). We will explore the multiple perspectives, theories, and histories suggesting that the world order we have come to inhabit is chiefly defined, among others, either by states and great powers, by the spread of liberal norms and governance arrangements, by the deep structures of capitalism and powerful multinational corporations, by complex and multi-scalar globalising processes, by longstanding colonial and racial hierarchies, or by cultural and civilizational diversity. We will interrogate how new technologies, ideologies, economic forces, actors, and environmental changes may be transforming the international system in which we live and bring about new kinds of world orders in the future. Through a world orders perspective, students will be invited to think and reflect systemically, analytically, and critically about the ways that humanity organises itself at the international level in multiple distinct ways across time and space.

There are no pre-requisite or co-requisite modules required to take this module. Some previous knowledge of IR theory is, however, desirable.

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