The current global economic instability has, together with the rise of states such as India and China, spurred much interest in global governance. Yet, the concept is relatively poorly understood. In this course, we examine the significance, impact and nature of the marked increase in international organisation since the second half of the twentieth century. We also ask how such organisation today meets, of fails to meet, the challenges presented by the global economic crisis and climate change.

Emnekode:                    INT6030
Tittel:                              Global Governance
Type:                               Valgfritt emne
Plassering:                     Tredje og femte semester
Studiepoeng:                 10 studiepoeng


About the Course

The increase in international organisation which has taken place since the second half of the twentieth century is one of the most striking features of international relations. While some suggest that we are witnessing the creation of a global community, governed by norms, rules and decision-making procedures, others see the world government as being amorphous and even as morally suspect.

Both scholarly and mainstream attention to the issue of global governance has increased considerably since the global economic crisis shook the foundations of the international arena in 2008. However, although frequently referred to in both mainstream and academic literature, ‘global governance’ is a relatively poorly understood concept. With some significant exceptions in the immediate post-Cold War era, the disciplines of International Relations (IR) theory and Global Political Economy (GPE) have largely avoided engaging with the phenomenon. Often, global governance is variously treated as a fad or dismissed entirely. During the twelve sessions that make up this class, we will conduct a thorough and holistic interrogation of contemporary global governance. In so doing, we examine both the concrete expressions of such governance – such as international organisations and regimes which states have created to govern international life within specific realms – and its ideational aspects, and ask ourselves questions such as: is it useful to talk of a global community?; is there a difference between governance and government? Who are the primary actors in global governance?, and; what should the role of norms and ideas be in global governance?


Learning outcomes

The candidate shall be able to…


  • Critically define “global governance”.
  • Account for the key actors in global governance.
  • Discuss the role of norms and ideas in global governance.
  • Account for the role of key organisations in global governance.
  • Discuss the significance of forums such as the G7/8 and the G20.
  • Draw from IR-theory to understand global governance.
  • Critically define ‘globalisation’ and explain the consequences of this phenomena.
  • Explain in what ways increased global interconnectedness may further peace.
  • Consider the role of ethics in financial institutions.


  • Use game-theory to understand global economic crisis and the issue of climate change.
  • Critically discuss the idea that the global economy favours the West.


  • Seek out and analyse the key obstacles to international agreement on the provision on common goods.
  • Understand the scope and limitations of international institutions and organisations.




  • Online course (pass/fail)
  • Compulsory participation in discussions in the digital classroom.


  • Take home exam (individual essay); memo: 3000 words (+/- 10 % excluding front page and reference list) (60 % of the grade, grading system A – F)
  • 3 hour written exam (40 % of the grade, grading system A – F)