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Governing a Global World


Admission requirements

This course is part of the minor Global Affairs and is open to Political Science Students as an elective course.
To register for this course you need to be enrolled either in Usis for the minor Global Affairs or as an undergraduate student at the Institute of Political Science at Leiden University. There are 130 places open for students enrolled in the minor and 100 places for undergraduate students of Political science, on a first come first served basis.

This course is also open for inbound exchange students. Exchange students must be admitted by the FGGA International Office prior to the start of the minor; priority will be given to direct exchange partners of FGGA. For more information about the application procedure for exchange students, please contact the FGGA International Office at


This course critically examines how global problems are – and be better – governed. Contemporary society is heavily globalised, as seen in matters such as armed conflicts, digital technologies, ecological degradations, economic instabilities, geopolitical shifts, humanitarian crises, identity struggles, pandemics, and social inequalities. Governing these global developments – shaping and directing them in positive directions – is one of today’s greatest political challenges. This course introduces students to the measures, actors, structures, and ideologies that currently govern – and might in future differently govern – the globe.

The first week of the course addresses globality: the condition of people being connected on a planetary scale. We cover the manifestations, history, and drivers of globalisation.
The second week reviews the challenges that globality poses in contemporary society: for democracy, distributive justice, ecological integrity, identity, liberty, material welfare, moral conduct, peace, and solidarity.
The third week considers the variety of actors (both governmental and nongovernmental) that do the governing of global affairs.
The fourth week examines how these multiple state and nonstate actors combine in polycentric networks of governance that raise major issues of effectiveness, fairness, and democracy.
The fifth week looks beyond actors to the practices and underlying orders that bring deeper structure to the governance of global problems.
The sixth week explores the legitimacy of current global governance, from both empirical and normative perspectives: how far do the existing arrangements have ‘the right to rule’?
The seventh week surveys contending policy frameworks that are available to govern a global world. We assess the possible promises and pitfalls of each approach, hopefully leaving students more empowered to make their own choices about desirable global futures.

Course objectives

At the end of this course, students will be able to:


● describe the global qualities of contemporary society and its governance ● identify various actors that participate in governing global connections ● recognise norms, practices and social structures that order global affairs


  • to appreciate the complex dynamics through which global issues are governed

  • to reflect on the legitimacy (or otherwise) of arrangements for global governance

  • to assess the potential promises and pitfalls of various ideological approaches to global policy


● to understand academic writings and lectures about governing a global world ● to participate in probing discussions of global challenges and their governance ● to communicate effectively in writing their understanding of governing a global world


The 2022 schedule will be published as soon as possible. The timetable will be displayed on the university website, Brightspace, and the front page of the minor in Global Affairs.

Mode of instruction

7 lectures of 3 hours.
Participation in lectures, discussions and exercises is required in order to obtain a grade. One lecture may be missed. Being absent more than once without acceptable cause may likely lead to expulsion from the course.

The total study load for this course is 140 hours, consisting of:

● 21 hours for attending lectures ● 119 hours studying the compulsory literature and working on assignments

Assessment method

Midterm exercise ● 25% of total grade ● Re-sit not possible ● Grade must be compensated

Final Essay ● 75% of total grade ● Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course ● Re-sit possible ● Re-sit will take the same form

Students willalso be permitted to re-sit the long essay if they have a calculated overall course grade lower than 5.50 or with permission of the Board of Examiners. The short essay needs to be compensated.

Late hand in penalty: 0,5 minus per day, and after seven days we do not accept papers any longer.

The Course and Examination Regulation of Security Studies and the Rules and Regulation of the Board of Examiners of the Institute of Security and Global Affairs apply.

Reading list

The reading list will be added on Brightspace.


Registration via MyStudymap or uSis is possible from August 1st 13.00 h, after registration for the entire minor.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. Important information about the course is posted here. After enrolment for the course in uSis, you are also enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


Jan Aart Scholte
For administrative matters and enrolment please contact:


All sessions will be in English. Essays need to be written in English.
This course takes place in The Hague.
Please note the resits of this minor will be organised in January