The European Union (EU) is increasingly active at the global stage, but in various degradations with regard to its degree of unity (or actorness) and effectiveness. At the same time, it is an actor difficult to classify in an increasingly globalised and complex world, where institutions for global governance have grown in number and formats, ranging from classical ‘one state-one vote’ international organisations to informal and ad-hoc bodies with varying constituencies. The course looks at the development of the EU as a global actor, as well as the rise of global interdependencies and global challenges. It discusses these matters against the background of various thoughts on (the changing role of) the state. To what extent is their problem-solving capacity diminished, why are they inclined to engage in international cooperation, and how is the relationship between state and non-state actors influencing modes and possibilities of global governance? It tracks the evolution of the (European) state from the Treaty of Westphalia, discusses the emergence of the EU as a global actor, evaluates the role and scope of International Organisations, and examines the impact of globalisation. In the debate some authors claim – either with enthusiasm or with regret – that the state is becoming obsolescent. Others take a more nuanced stance, claiming that the state may have become weaker in fulfilling its traditional roles (like redistribution), but that it is gaining strength with respect to other policy-functions (such as creating international standards on trade and investment). This course analyses these positions and asks whether the state – as we know it – will still exist at the end of this century. It will evaluate these questions in the context of the dynamic development of the EU and key international organisations. At the end of the course, students should arrive at a more informed answer to the question whether global governance and the EU acting internationally as a united actor are a panacea, or an illusion.
The main objective of the seminar meetings is for all students to form their own judgements on the nature of the state, the EU’s international positioning and its role in key global governance bodies as well as prospects of future of global governance, through a critical evaluation of the readings. Students are expected to apply concepts related to literature on the international role of the state, the EU and global governance institutions by looking at specific cases.
Mode of instruction
The course will comprise of introductory lectures and class presentations prepared by students (in small groups); some of these presentations will be on the basis of case studies (e.g. on climate change, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction). Class attendance is required.
class participation 10%
paper outline 10%
final paper 50%
Students are required to prepare the readings and actively participate in each course. In each class students will give a 15-20 minutes presentation on the assigned topic for that session, which will be followed by a group discussion.
No books need to be purchased; readings will be announced.