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First Year Modules on the
BSc in International Politics

IP1006 International Organisations in Global Politics (2)


This module introduces students to the transnational relations of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), large corporations (TNCs) and their international organisations. It is essential for the programme's goal of being able to address inter-society relations, as well as intergovernmental relations. By emphasising the influence of transnational actors on global policy-making, it complements module IP1005 on the United Nations. Please note: in this module, the term NGO is being used in the UN sense, covering all actors from civil society, including those such as trades unions and religious groups that may not regard themselves as being NGOs.

Educational Aims

The lectures and classes will outline the diversity among transnational actors and the global organisations and networks that they join. The student will become aware of the growth in the number, size, range of activities and status within the UN system of transnational actors.

Learning Outcomes: Subject knowledge and understanding

On successful completion of this module, a student will be expected to be able to

Indicative Content

The module will start by outlining the great diversity among the types of transnational actors and explaining how technological change has facilitated cheap, rapid and effective communications that have enabled all transnational actors to expand their global reach and/or their range of activities. Then the formal procedures and the political operation of the UN arrangements for NGOs in consultative status will be compared with the less formal arrangements at the European Union. The relations between the concepts of NGOs, TNCs, civil society and social movements will be analysed. Case-studies, such as CND in the 1960s, the Campaign Against Torture in the 1970s and the International Baby Foods Action Network, as the model of contemporary global networking, will be covered, to show how transnational campaigning has changed.

The module will raise questions of theoretical significance about the challenge transnational actors make to the sovereignty of states. TNCs engage in transfer pricing, triangulation of trade and regulatory arbitrage, while their structures can result in extraterritoriality. NGOs cause debate about the nature of political legitimacy at the level of global policy-making.

Learning and teaching methods

Acquisition of knowledge and understanding is promoted through a combination of lectures and interactive classes. Students are encouraged to undertake extensive reading and independent study in order to understand the topics covered in lectures and classes and to broaden and deepen their knowledge of the subject.

Students also receive feedback on their coursework to encourage them to reflect on what they have produced.


Each students will produce one essay of up to 2,000 words, give a class presentation and answer two questions in an unseen examination. In order to pass the module, the student must gain an average mark of at least 40%. The module average is calculated from the exam mark weighted at 70% and the coursework weighted at 30%.

For degree programmes where this is a compulsory module, compensation is not permitted for failure. If the Assessment Board requires a resit, each component for which a mark of less than 40% has been achieved will be resat or a specific assessment activity will be required.

Indicative Reading list


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Centre for International Politics, School of Social Science, City University, Northampton Square, London EC1V 0HB.
Page maintained by Peter Willetts

Page produced on 8 August 2005
Updated on 8 August 2005