PO3IOG-International Organizations in Global Politics

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Martin Binder

Email: m.binder@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module introduces student in the study of international organizations. International organizations are key players in global politics. They help states coordinate policies, solve cooperation problems and advance national interests. At the same time, international organizations have become actors in their own right in that they have gained autonomy from their member states and exercise authority across important policy functions, ranging from agenda setting to monitoring and enforcement. To the extent that international organizations regulate ever more issue areas and intervene deeply into the domestic realm of states, this has given rise to controversies in academic and policy communities not only over why international organizations exist and whether they matter in international politics, but also over whether they can effectively alleviate global problems and how legitimate they are.

The aim of the module is to:
•Discuss the main theoretical and conceptual approaches to the analysis of international organizations;
•Examine how international organizations are designed, how they work, and how effective they are;
•Analyse the major challenges international organizations face – legitimacy problems, politicization – and the ways they respond to these challenges.

The module looks at these questions from a theoretical, empirical and normative perspective. However, rather than doing this in an abstract way, the module will apply these questions to a set of specific institutions from different issue areas in international politics, including security (e.g., United Nations, NATO, IAEA), trade (World Trade Organization, regional trade organizations), finance and development (e.g., World Bank, IMF) and human rights (e.g., Council of Europe, Human Rights Council).

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students are expected to be able to:
•Demonstrate knowledge of the main theoretical approaches to the study of International Organizations
•Demonstrate the ability to critically examine the existence, the design, and the operation of important contemporary International Organizations through the lens of these theories
•Demonstrate the ability to analyse and evaluate the effectiveness, authority and legitimacy of International Organizations form an empirical as well as normative perspective
•To enhance students’ critical and analytical skills through engaging with a diverse and challenging theoretical and empirical literature and to demonstrate these in seminar discussions, presentations, essays and examinations

Additional outcomes:

Students should also ?improve research and writing skills Improve their abilities to assess written arguments Improve their abilities to use historical evidence to assess competing theoretical claims.  Improve knowledge in an area of potential future employment.

Outline content:
Content is indicative and may be subject to minor changes. The module will
•Discuss the major theoretical approaches to the study of international organisations
•Examine their functions of international organisations
•Assess their performance and legitimacy
•This will be done by looking at a set of specific international organisations form different issue areas in international politics, including security, development, economic cooperation and human rights

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module is taught through 8 one-hour lectures and 8 corresponding 1.5 hour classes. In addition, there will be one introductory lecture, and a 0.5 hour business meeting. In the classes, students will orally present on specified topics, followed by group discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 7 2
Seminars 10 3 2
Guided independent study 59 58 59
Total hours by term 76.00 63.00 61.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Class test administered by School 30

Other information on summative assessment:

Students will write one 4,000 word essay (IO research paper) on a selected topic (70%). Non-submitted essays will be awarded a mark of zero. Visiting students: will follow the same assessments and if enrolled for the full year will also sit the examination. Those visiting students who are here for Autumn and Spring terms only but wish to gain full credits will also write a 4000 word essay in place of the examination, to be submitted by the first day of term following their leaving date. Visiting students who are only studying for half credits in the Autumn term will submit one 4000 word essay in total.

Formative assessment methods:

Students will orally present on specified topics (20-25 minutes).

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    2 hour in-class test

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Candidates who fail their final year normally have the right to be re-examined on one further occasion at the next opportunity. These candidates will not normally be eligible for Honours (ie., only a ‘Pass’ classification would be attainable). Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Examination: Re-examination takes place in August/September of the same year.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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