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Introduction to Transnational Politics




Admissions requirements



The study of politics beyond the domestic political arena has traditionally been focused on relations between states. This course, by contrast, explores contemporary political movements and issues that transcend the boundaries of nation-states and formal intergovernmental relations. The course will focus primarily on non-state actors and institutions such as classes, diaspora networks, social and religious movements, and transnational NGOs. We will begin by exploring the historical background to contemporary transnational politics, and specifically the increasing interconnectedness of human societies over the past 500 years. We then explore a series of theoretical approaches that offer different lenses through which to view politics beyond the state, including Marxism, feminism, green theory, post-colonialism, and normative theory. The final section of the course examines how non-state actors and institutions are shaping world politics through their engagement with issues such as global economic inequality, human rights, environmental change, religious difference, migration, and regional integration. Although the course concentrates on non-state actors, the international states system will loom large in our explorations, appearing to transnational actors as variously a constraint on their activity, a set of powers to be influenced, and a problem to be solved.

Course objectives

The module is aims to provide a critical examination of transnational politics. In successfully completing this course, you will:

  • Understand the historical background to the contemporary transnational politics.

  • Develop a basic knowledge of the major theoretical approaches to the study of transnational political and social movements in world politics.

  • Understand the key concepts relating to transnational politics, and be able to apply them in critical analysis of important events and processes.

  • Demonstrate understanding of the agendas and strategies of important non-state actors and institutions.

  • Produce a well-argued political essay.

  • Improve your oral presentation skills and your ability to communicate arguments to other students.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

The course is taught through two-hour seminars. During the course of the seminar students are expected to take part in both in the seminar discussions; present and defend their ideas within an academic setting; and take part in group presentations. The role of the course instructor is to ensure the efficient running of the discussion.


Five elements of coursework constitute the final mark for the course:

  • In-class Participation (10%)

  • Presentation (18%)

  • Précis (32%)

  • Final exam (40%)


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

Compulsory literature:

John Baylis, Steve Smith, Patricia Owens (eds.) 2013: The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations. 6th edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact


Dr. Kai Hebel


Weekly Overview
1. Introduction

PART I: History of and Ideas behind Transnational Politics
2. History: From the Age of Exploration to the Twenty-Frist Century
3. Ideas: International Relations, Globalisation and Global Governance

PART II: Perspectives in Transnational Politics
4. Marxism
5. Normative IR Theory
6. Feminism
7. Postcolonialism/Poststructuralism
8. Green Theory

PART III: Issues in Transnational Politics
9. Global Economic Inequality
10. Environmental Change
11. Human Rights
12. Transnational Politics of Religion
13. Migration and Refugees
14. Revision