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The University of Southampton

PAIR2012 Global Governance

Module Overview

This module examines the problems and possibilities of governing issues and processes in global politics. Whereas scholars of international relations have traditionally focussed on relations between sovereign states, This modulee addresses the question of governance in a globalising world through an examination of the roles played by international organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), non-state actors and global civil society in shaping the contemporary international order. In the process, the module speculates on the meanings and dilemmas of governance (and “good governance”) across different issue areas. The module is divided into three parts. It begins by exploring the major theoretical approaches to the study of international organisation and governance, and examines the development of international organisation as a process through three main periods of institution building: post-WW1, post-WW2, and post-Cold War. The second part moves to explore issues of power, legitimacy and compliance with international rules. The last part addresses the role of international organisations in the realms of humanitarian intervention; health; trade, finance and development; environment; and civil society.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Stimulate thinking and discussion on globalisation and global governance. • Encourage thinking about the types of international governance forms that are emerging in the contemporary world. • Develop an understanding of the role of international organisations and global institutions and how they impact on policy-making across a range of issue areas. • Analyse from a theoretical approach and using case-studies central debates surrounding globalisation and the challenge it poses to governance. • Build student capacity to interact with peers in discussion of pertinent themes in international relations with particular reference to debates and issues of global governance

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Have a good understanding of competing definitions and critiques of global governance as a perspective for understanding world politics in the context of globalisation
  • Construct arguments that are sensitive to the analysis of global processes and international affairs
  • Be able to identify various mechanisms of governance that operate beyond the state.
  • Be able to employ analytical tools to examine the functioning of international organisations and non-governmental organisations, as well as the various ways in which international institutions, global policy networks, and non-state actors interact.
  • Have a good understanding of both the practical and ethical issues relevant to the governance of globalisation processes
  • Writing and presentation skills.
  • Independent learning.
  • Values and behaviour to apply in written and oral communication
  • Critically assess debates and contemporary issues relevant to the theories of governance and globalisation.
  • Synthesise academic materials from different sources.


The module is divided into three parts. The first part examines a number of different theoretical approaches to global governance as a perspective on world politics. It draws from different intellectual traditions in the discipline of IR and IPE to conceptualise international organisation and global governance. The second part reviews current debates about power and compliance, sources of power, representation and legitimacy in global governance. The final part discusses the role of international organisations in the realms of humanitarian intervention; health; trade, finance and development; environment; and civil society. It explores how the tensions between sovereign decisions and the exigencies of the global rule are mediated / resolved.

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study150
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

David Held and Anthony McGrew (2002). Governing Globalisation. 

Rodney B Hall and Thomas J. Bierstaker (2002). The Emergence of Private Authority in Global Governance. 

Rorden Wilkinson (ed.) (2005). The Global Governance Reader. 

Robert Keohane (2002). Power and Governance in a Partially Globalized World. 

Paul F. Diehl (ed.) (2001). The Politics of Global Governance. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Analysis and report  (2000 words) 45%
Essay  (2000 words) 45%
Presentation  ( words) 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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