International Relations and Global Governance

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    International Relations and Global Governance

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    International Relations

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    Knowledge and understanding – The student has acquired knowledge and understanding of:
    (1) the rival theories and approaches within the discipline of International Relations (IR) and their meta-theoretical foundations, such as Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Marxism, Post structuralism and Feminism.
    (2) the most important characteristics of these different theoretical perspectives and are able to relate them key thinkers within these approaches.
    (3) how and why interstate relations and global governance - within the context of ongoing globalization - affects national states and societies, and how different actors, such as states, government leaders, Multinational Companies, and NGOs, collaborate and conflict within these transnational processes;
    (4) contemporary world politics and pertinent themes such as migration, security, the rise of China and other emerging powers, international law, the global political economy, climate change and (under)development and can apply and contrast the different theoretical perspectives of IR (e.g. Realism, Liberalism, Constructivism, Marxism, see above) to case studies and questions related to these contemporary issues.

    Application - The student has acquired the competences to:
    (5) apply their knowledge of the conceptual and theoretical toolbox of IR and of contemporary issues to cases such as the refugee crisis, global climate talks, (the war on) terrorism, tax evasion, the financial crisis, the role of the UN in humanitarian interventions. For instance, in a written policy brief on a (new) topic and organization/audience of their own choice.

    Making judgements - The student is able to:
    (6) critically reflect upon the rival theoretical approaches in the discipline of IR (mentioned above), both in written and verbal form.

    This course offers a comprehensive overview of the discipline and subject of International Relations (IR) and its main concepts and theories and approaches. Throughout, the course will be guided by the question to which extent, and how, the current process of globalization is changing the nature and content of world politics, approaching this question from the various competing theoretical perspectives that IR has to offer.

    Traditionally, the object of study for IR has been the conflict between and co-operation of sovereign states. This model is, however, increasingly regarded as outdated inasmuch as more and more non-state actors such as multinationals, NGOs and transnational social movements appear to play a prominent role in world politics. In addition, we can also observe transnational forms of regulation through international organizations and emerging structures of what is called ‘global governance’.

    The question has been raised whether in the face of these processes of globalization and transnationalisation, states have lost the sovereignty that used to be the basis of the international system. On the other hand, there are still many instances where state power is very visible. Indeed, recent geopolitical developments and events related to for instance the rise of China have also once more brought home the message that classical themes of interstate rivalry and international security have not lost their relevance in this new era.

    In this course the focus will be on seeking to understand these questions from various theoretical lenses. Students will learn how different perspectives highlight different structures and different actors and processes, and how a deeper knowledge of these theories and their main concepts allows for a deeper understanding of the richness of IR and its relation to the rest of the social sciences, and of the complexity of today’s globalized world politics.

    Lecture, study group

    Written Exam (100%)

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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