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Dynamics of International Organisation



This graduate seminar explores the dynamics of international organization and global governance -- “what makes the world hang together” (Ruggie 1998). It examines why and how states and other actors develop norms, rules and organizations to govern world politics, how these various forms of international organization shape the behaviour of state and non-state actors and thus the management of global challenges, and how patterns of international organization interact with power transitions and other forms of global change. We will only discuss the mandates, structures, functions and evolution of particular international organizations when this is useful to understand larger themes.

Course Objectives

Objective 1: To deepen students’ understanding of the sources, the effects, and the limitations of international organization in contemporary world politics, including formal inter-governmental organizations like the United Nations or the World Trade Organization, informal inter-governmental organizations like the G-20, hybrid organizations involving state and non-state actors like the Internet Governance Forum, and international norms and rules that exist independently of any international bureaucracy.
Objective 2: To stimulate students to think theoretically about the topic(s) they are considering for their MSc thesis project.
Objective 3: To give students an analytical foundation for careers in research, advocacy or policy-making on topics related to international organization and global governance.

Methods of instruction and communication

Class sessions will involve lecture, plenary discussions and small group exercises. Students are expected to complete assigned readings and submit written assignments by the deadlines and to make informed contributions to discussion.

Brightspace is the principal means of e-communication in this course. Students are responsible for all information posted there, so they should read all documents posted there at the start of the block and check their email (linked to Brightspace) regularly for new announcements.

Study material

Readings will be drawn from scholarly books and journal articles available via the university library or the internet.

Assessment method

Grades will be based upon seminar participation (25%) and three review essays on assigned readings (25% each).

Admission requirements

This course is open only to students enrolled in the ‘international organization’ specialization within the MSc Political Science program. Students can take this course only once in their academic year.


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