AGDK14004U Global Politics

Volume 2020/2021

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.


The thrust of the course is on how global phenomena and dynamics impact local arenas rather than on International Relations, mainstream political science analysis of regime forms, administration, or policy analysis. For these aspects, students are advised to look for elective courses in the second year.


The course provides students with the tools to analyse and understand institutional dynamics and their consequences for developing countries and emerging economies. Especially, the students 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 engaging with amorphous forms of data in their careers.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course, the student should be able to:



  • Describe and define central concepts in global politics.

  • Show overview of the interconnections between different levels of political fields (global though 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.

Teaching material, chapters, articles and film will be made available through the course website.

There is a mixture of lectures and workshops. Lectures will be conducted by the teachers below, and two parallel workshops will follow lectures for discussion of prepared questions. The workshops will be moderated by doctoral students
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 36
  • Preparation
  • 108
  • Practical exercises
  • 18
  • Exam
  • 48
  • Total
  • 210
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination, 48
Individual 48 hour take-home exam. Formal requirements for written assignments and exams are described in section 4.5 in Curricula’s Common Part.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
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.


Criteria for exam assesment

See 'Learning Outcome'