2016 / 17


Global Governance

Grau en Relacions Internacionals








Professor: Òscar Mateos

This course aims to introduce to students to the nature of Global Governance in the 21st Century. In a moment of significant uncertainties and increasing interdependence; where state and inter-state power is changing and new sources of authority are emerging; where conflict, global health crisis or environmental degradation are key in current and future international discussions; and where calls for global and transnational solutions to all these problems grow louder, the study and understanding of global governance has acquired an amazing growing attention in the academic field, becoming a cross-disciplinary, complex and extensive terrain.

In this sense, the starting point of this course is to underline that global governance goes beyond the realm of international organizations. Global governance refers, thus, to the totality of the formal and informal values, norms, procedures, dynamics and institutions that help all kind of actors (states, inter-governmental organizations, civil society, social movements, transnational corporations or individuals) to identify, understand and address trans-boundary problems (Weiss, 2013).

During the course, the students will be introduced to the main debates and theoretical discussions about global governance; they will analyze the main actors –state and non-state-, mechanisms and dynamics; they will also focus in the main trends and core issues, such as the humanitarian crisis and security challenges, the main global health crisis or the environmental problems, among other things; and they will discuss the relevant idea of global ‘commons’ and global public goods. In doing so, the student will acquire a broad and deep perspective of a central topic in International Relations. All in all, global governance will help the student to summarize and interrelate most of the concepts, debates, authors and reflections that he/she has been integrating in the last years.


Student must be capable to:

  • Acquire a systematic understanding of what global governance is (and it is not).
  • Understand the nature, the complexity and the interdependence of global problems.
  • Understand the different actors –formal and informal- that operate in the world and the different sources of authority and power.
  • Attain a critical understanding of how different actors have behaved in front of some of the main global problems the world is facing in the last years.
  • Assess the idea of global ‘commons’ and global public godos and its main limits, contradictions and challenges.
  • Develop the technology skills and use of basic support and on-line tools to be applied in the field of International Relations.
  • Ability to communicate fluently and effectively in the common languages used in International Relations.
  • Ability to apply the Human Rights and democratic values as well as those of peace in their analysis and reflection on international affairs.
  • Apply the main theories and methodologies of International Relations in the analysis of the trends and problems of international affairs.
  • Ability to acquire professional skills and adapt to the working trends related to International Relations, by respecting the legal and political obligations.
  • Work autonomously, with initiative and self-organisation, as the way to reach the full intellectual development.

These competences will be evaluated based on the criteria and instruments specified below.

Students are expected to achieve the following learning outcomes by the end of the course:

  • Identify and critically apply the professional profiles derived from the international action of states.
  • Analyze current forms of governance in the different fields of international relations, and assess their role against the systems defined by States.
  • Isolate and contextualize the legal consequences of international action of states.


1. Global Governance: Introducing and Contextualizing the Debate:

1.1. Understanding Global Governance in the Context of Globalization.

1.2. Global Governance in Historical Perspective.

1.3. Global Governance and its Critics: Theoretical Approaches and the Issue of Power.

2. Actors, Mechanisms and Dynamics of Global Governance:

2.1. States, International Organizations and Networks of Governance.

2.2. Emerging Non-State Actors in Global Governance.

2.3. Global Civil Society and Networked Social Movements.

3. Emerging Trends and Core Issues in Global Governance:

3.1. Global Governance and Global Security.

3.2. Global Governance and Humanitarian Crisis.

3.3. Global Governance and Global Health.

3.4. Global Governance, Environment and Climate Change.

3.5. Global Advocacy in Global Governance.

4. Global governance, Global ‘Commons’ and Global Public Goods:

4.1. An Introduction to ‘Commons’ and Global Public Goods.

4.2. Governing and Managing the ‘Commons’ and Global Public Goods.

4.3. Limits, Contradictions and Challenges to Global ‘Commons’ and Global Public Goods.

5. Conclusions: What future for Global Governance?.


  1. Lectures.
  2. Individual and group practices: text readings and comments, research, presentations and debates
  3. Exam.


First sitting

  • Group presentations (35%)
  • Text readings, essays writing and assignments to be completed during the course (35%)
  • A final exam on the contents of the program (30%)

The students must pass these three parts with at least an average grade of ‘4’. If any of these parts is not duly passed, the student will have to undertake the second sitting exam.

With regards to the second sitting, the evaluation is broken down as follows:

  • Final exam (70%)
  • Continuous evaluation (30%). In any case, the student’s grade in this second sitting exam will average with a 30% of his/her continuous evaluation during the first sitting (group presentations and individual assignments).

VERY IMPORTANT: The student will NOT be entitled to retake the subject in the second sitting if he or she was “no-show” in the first sitting. Should the student not show up at the first sitting, he or she will fail the whole course and will have to repeat it.


The following criteria will be considered to determine the fulfilment of each evaluation item:

  • Good understanding and use of key concepts and ideas about global governance.
  • Ability to connect the course’s key ideas with broader issues of international relations.
  • Ability to present one’s own ideas on the basis of the guidelines given.
  • Active participation in class and fulfilment of deadlines.


  • Kaul, I., Conceição, P. et al. (2003), Providing Global Public Goods; Managing Globalization, Oxford University Press: New York.
  • Ostrom, E. (1990), Governing the Commons. The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Weiss, T. G. and R. Wilkinson (eds.) (2014), International Organization and Global Governance, London: Routledge.
  • Weiss, T. G. (2013), Global Governance. Why? What? Whither?, Cambridge: Polity.
  • Wilkinson, R. (ed.) (2005), The Global Governance Reader, London: Routledge.


  • Avant, D. M. Finnemore and S. Sell (eds.) (2010),Who Governs the Globe?, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Barnett, M. and R. Duvall (eds.) (2006),Power in Global Governance, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Castells, M. (2012),Redes de indignación y de esperanza, Madrid: Alianza Editorial
  • Hale, T. and D. Held (eds.) (2011),Handbook of Transnational Governance: Institutions and Innovations,Cambridge Polity Press
  • Held, D. (2009), “Restructuring global governance: cosmopolitanism, democracy and the global order”,Millennium - Journal of International Studies, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 535-547.
  • Held, D. and A. McGrew (eds.) (2002),Governing Globalization: Power, Authority and Global Governance, Cambridge UK: Polity Press
  • Kaldor, M. (2003), “The Idea of Global Civil Society”,International Affairs, vol. 79, no.3, pp. 583-593
  • Nye, J. S. and J. D. Donahue (eds.) (2000),Governance in a Globalizing World, Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press
  • Ostrom, E. (2012), The Future of the Commons, London: The Institute of Economic Affairs
  • Rosenau, J. (1995), “Governance in the Twenty-first Century”,Global Governance, vol. 1, no. 1, Winter, pp. 13-43.
  • Strange, S. (1994),States and Markets, London: Frances Pinter Publishers Ltd
  • Subirats, J. (2011),Otra sociedad, ¿otra política? De “no nos representan" a la democracia de lo común, Barcelona: Icaria Editorial
  • Weiss, T. G. and R. Thakur (eds.) (2010),Global Governance and the UN: An Unfinished Journey, Bloomington IN: Indiana University Press
  • Wendt, A. (2003), “Why a World State is Inevitable”,European Journal of International Relations, vol. 9, no. 4, December, pp. 491-542.

Internet sources

Academic Journals:

Oscar Mateos Martin