What is world politics? What makes the globe ‘hang together’? Who governs it? Who or what are the main actors and how can we explain their behaviour? What are the most pressing problems of world politics? What solutions are practically feasible and normatively desirable? Traditional answers to these fundamental questions have focused on the nation-state as the dominant agent, equating world politics with international – or more precisely, inter-state – relations. In contrast, this course explores contemporary political issues that transcend – some would say: subvert – the boundaries of nation-states and the confines of inter-governmental relations. We focus primarily on transnational politics, i.e. political relations which involve non-state agents, structures and processes, such as classes, NGOs, religious actors, diasporas and social movements. Globalization, it is often argued, has strengthened the transnational dimension of world politics. Yet it is hotly contested what globalization actually is and what its political, socio-cultural, economic and normative implications of this development are. As a result, it remains unclear how impacts and in turn how TNP and WP… This course starts the quest for answers to these monumental questions of contemporary world politics, thereby laying the foundation for the higher-level courses in the World Politics major.
The course begins by sketching the historical background to contemporary transnational politics, specifically the increasing interconnectedness of human societies over the past several hundred years, a phenomenon referred to as historical globalization. We then explore key concepts and ideas as well as the major theoretical approaches to understanding politics beyond the state, including Marxism and feminism. The final section of the course examines key issues in transnational politics, such as human rights, global economic inequality, religious difference and regional integration. Throughout the course, we ponder how the transnational dimension of world politics relates to the inter-state dimension. This includes examining how different transnational actors engage with the states system, which they variously conceive as a constraint on their activity, an opportunity structure to be exploited or as a relic to transcend.
The course critically examines central issues in transnational politics using an interdisciplinary approach. We draw on analytical concepts, theories and bodies of evidence from across the social sciences as well as the humanities, especially political philosophy and history. In successfully completing this course, you will:
Understand the historical and intellectual background to contemporary transnational politics.
Develop a basic grasp of key theoretical approaches to the study of transnational politics and learn to apply these approaches independently.
Understand the core concepts relating to transnational politics and be able to use them critically to analyse major events and processes.
Comprehend and evaluate the agendas and strategies of important non-state actors and institutions.
Learn to craft concise, clearly structured and typo-free précis.
Once available, timetables will be published here.
Mode of instruction
Consisting of two sessions per week, the course aims to foster informed debate about transnational politics based on the readings listed below. In line with LUC’s pedagogical approach, the course requires students to take responsibility for their education and their learning success. This means, above all, two things. First, you are to read the assigned literature deeply and critically. This is a reading-intensive course and while this might pose a challenge at the beginning, you will be surprised how much you can digest if you try hard enough. Second, you are to consistently engage in discussion and share your ideas, arguments and questions with your peers. This course is a collective endeavour to understand the world of transnational politics. Therefore, student participation is crucial to the success of both the overall course and of your individual intellectual growth. The primary role of the course instructor is not to lecture the students, but to facilitate student participation and foster the rigorous discussion of transnational politics at an intellectually challenging level.
Four elements of coursework constitute the final mark for the course:
Final exam (30%)
There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.
Students are to acquire this textbook before the start of the course:
- John Baylis, Steve Smith, Patricia Owens (eds.) 2013/2016: The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 6th/7th 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Kai Hebel
In order to be eligible for participation in the course, students are required to read the following texts before the start of the block: John Baylis, Steve Smith, Patricia Owens (eds.) 2013/2016: The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction to International Relations, 6th/7th edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press: introduction and chapter 1.