Global governance

When states are faced with governance problems they cannot solve alone, they create international institutions and organisations. These are of global or regional scale, and for general as well as for specific purposes. This development marks a seminal change in international politics: While the often unsuccessful prevention of violent interstate war dominated much of the political agenda in the last century, the provision of public goods and of effective and legitimate governance beyond the state is becoming increasingly important. This is the transition from international relations to global governance. This emerging pattern is not necessarily good or without problems. It is also not necessarily global in a territorial sense. And while global governance may help solve public problems that would otherwise remain unsolved, it may also create domestic losers or exhibit weaknesses such as structural accountability deficits. With the increased authority vested in global governance, criticism and resistance also increases.

The course gives students a conceptual and thematic overview on global governance, focussing on conceptual lenses to make sense of its structure and possible alternative or supplementary trajectories. The guiding theme is ‘the contested rise of global governance’. As this is a Masters level course, there will be no descriptive introduction to specific organisations or policy fields. Instead, the course is about analytical concepts and broad trends that should be helpful to understand the trajectory and problems of global governance from a political science perspective. It focusses on topics that students should know (if only as a background) when dealing with more specific problems later in their studies or in their professional live.

This course is for 1st year MIA students only.


  • Markus Jachtenfuchs , Professor of European and Global Governance | Director, Jacques Delors Centre
  • Marina Henke , Professor of International Relations | Director, Centre for International Security