Department of Political Science


Global Governance

Course Code


Course Tutor

Dr Tom Pegram (Department of Political Science)


One 3,000 word essay (50%) and one 2 hour exam (50%)

Credit Value


About this course

Theoretical innovations and world developments have combined to ensure that the field of global governance features prominently in the study of global politics. Although few dispute its importance, what global governance actually means and how it works in practice remains in question. This module will enable students to critically examine the conventional wisdom and as a result gain a more critical understanding of global governance - both in theory and practice. A range of theoretical perspectives on global governance will be surveyed, mapping a shift from an organising principle of anarchy to one of complex governance. Additionally, the module will examine how global governance works in practice, with a focus on what is being governed, how and by whom, and the extent to which global governance objectives match outcomes when applied to major global challenges. The module will examine a variety of global policy domains to assess how scholarship is adapting to, and making sense of, contemporary developments in this fast-moving arena, including health, human rights, the internet, and the environment, among others.

The emphasis of the module is on critical reflection and context (as opposed to detailed functionalist analysis of issue-areas). The focus is on questions of how global governance came into being, how it is changing over time, and the constraints and opportunities posed for public and private actors engaged in advancing (or resisting) global public policy objectives. Policy domains have been selected due to their illustrative value and general lower coverage elsewhere.

This is a core module for students on the MSc Global Governance and Ethics programme and is not available as an optional module.