AGDK14004U Global Politics

Volume 2015/2016

MSc programme in Global Development


Rules, laws and institutions do not simply drop from the sky. Social orders at different scales are produced and reproduced in political dynamics where efforts to consolidate and strengthen rights and authorities are being challenged by bearers of conflicting interests and unequal powers. Rules, laws and institutions connect local and global sites of politics in asymmetrical power relations, and make up political landscapes of regulation and resistance, of recognition and accountability, and of negotiation and conflict.


Global Politics focuses on the production as well as the reception and political and institutional effect of global political connections and disconnections. The agendas of powerful political players – nation states, business consortia and organisations often from the global North – are mediated through international organisations, conventions and codified practices. This shapes institutional architecture and ideology. However, the reception and effects are virtually always localised and mediated through already existing institutions and actively pursued local agendas. Globalisation does therefore not produce uniform political and institutional outcomes but rather a tremendous variation of ideology, political movement, institutions and law. Especially in weak and fragile states, this tends to happen in unexpected ways.


Global Politics will provide students with the tools to analyse and understand institutional dynamics and their consequences for developing countries and emerging economies. Especially, they will be able to analyse dilemmas, tensions, and conflicts in legal and organisational infrastructures. The course will focus on what constitutes ‘data’ when analysing politics, law, and institutional change. The ability to combine data on policy, law, rules, practice, discourse, protest and conflict that cuts through levels from global to local is essential. This prepares students for the field course as well as for engaging with amorphous forms of data in their careers.


The lectures will be based around the following themes:


  • Global Environmental Governance
  • Aspects of European Colonisation
  • De-colonisation and the new world
  • Regime types, democratisation and democratic consolidation
  • Political systems and party coalitions
  • Decentralisation and political participation
  • Patron-Client relations
  • Weak states or twilight institutions
  • Territorialisation and resource struggles
  • Corruption and the ethnography of state
  • Conflict and post-conflict
  • International wars
  • Negotiation game


Global Politics includes a negotiation game, which will be presented during the first session and then run parallel to the lectures throughout the course:


The overall idea of the game is that the students, divided into groups, shall represent different parties that together shall negotiate and adopt a new international agreement. The game provides a means that enable the students to apply the knowledge they acquire through the teaching in the course. The groups represent different States (both northern and southern) as well as a non-State party (e.g. an NGO) with an interest in the negotiations. One State (i.e. one group) shall host the final negotiations and will thus be responsible for drawing up a compromise text.

Learning Outcome


  • Describe and define central concepts in global politics.
  • Show overview of the interconnections between different levels of political fields (global through to local).
  • Show overview over state and non-state governance systems.



  • Select relevant methods for institutional analysis.
  • Identify central actors, institutions, processes and norms involved in the social production of political fields.



  • Collect and process relevant information for analysis of political dilemmas.
  • Critically reflect on central characteristics of formal and informal forms of politics.
  • Understand and critically reflect on the multidimensional character of politics in different fields (such as resource conflicts).
  • Analytically connect resource conflicts to conflicts over governance and state formation.


The course will consist of lectures, group work and the negotiation game. The negotiations will primarily take place “outside” course hours and will be concluded by a final one-day negotiation.

The course follows the “block structure” at UCPH. In 2015 it therefore runs from week 6 to week 13.

The course consists of 2 lectures of two hours per week and 1 seminar of two-three hours per week. Furthermore the students will be expected to undertake negotiations parallel to the actual teaching concluded by one final negotiation as decribed in the course content.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Course Preparation
  • 156
  • Exam
  • 12
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Practical exercises
  • 14
  • Total
  • 210
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 48
The exam will be a 48-hour written assignment based on 1-4 themes/questions presented by the course responsible.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

If you fail an examination, you will be allowed two more attempts to pass the relevant course. The first re-examination will typically be scheduled immediately following the semester (February/August). The second re-examination will typically be scheduled in the following exam period.

In order to contact to sign up for the re-exam please contact Ulla Andersen, You must sign up no later than 14 days before the re-exam date.

Criteria for exam assesment

See 'Learning Outcome'