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International organisations IR2085

This course builds on the foundations laid by the prerequisite course IR1011 Introduction to international relations.

It offers a comprehensive introduction to the theory and practice of international organisations, with particular reference to role of formal international organisations. International organisations to be discussed range from the League of Nations to the United Nations, from the World Bank to the World Trade Organization, from the European Union to the African Union, from NAFTA to ASEAN, and from NATO to the International Criminal Court.

Prerequisites

If taken as part of a BSc degree, courses which must be passed before this course may be attempted:

  • IR1011 Introduction to international relations.

Topics covered

The course seeks to give students an understanding of the major theoretical and empirical aspects of the role of international organisations in international politics, including, inter alia, their impact on the practice of international cooperation and conflict, the maintenance of international peace and security, the management of international economic relations, the promotion of international environmental standards, the prosecution of international crimes, and related matters of concern to international society. International organizations to be discussed range from the League of Nations to the United Nations, from the World Bank to the World Trade Organization, from the European Union to the African Union, from NAFTA to ASEAN, and from NATO to the International Criminal Court.

  • Origins of international organisations: why do IOs such as the Organization of American States emerge?
  • Development of international organisations: what goes on within IOs such as the United Nations?
  • Effects of international organisations: what difference do IOs such as the International Monetary Fund make?
  • Pathologies of international organisations: when do IOs such as the European Union go wrong?

Learning outcomes

If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the core literature on international organisations
  • Engage with this literature critically by developing their own argumentation
  • Explain the main theoretical approaches and empirical issues in the study of international organisations
  • Write clearly, effectively, and subtly about these issues.

Assessment

Unseen written exam (3 hrs).

Essential reading

  • Hurd, Ian. International Organizations: Politics, Law, Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Armstrong, David, Lorna Lloyd and John Redmond. International Organisation in World Politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave
  • Karns, Margaret P. and Karen A. Mingst. International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner.

Course information sheets

Download the course information sheets from the LSE website.