Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Governance and Policy Making: The International Context

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT International Relations

DESCRIPTION This study unit aims to give all students a thorough overview of the international political system, the main actors within the system, and driving forces behind the actors' policy choices.

It first looks at the international political system, its composition, driving forces and evolution over time from a variety of perspectives.

The study unit then looks at theories of state, and the different types of states and how state composition and ideology will impact on policy making, it then looks at the development of IO and NGOs and explains their behaviour in terms in terms of theories of bureaucratization and inertia , what conditions that behavior and how this affects international relations.

The study-unit then moves on to examine decision-making of actors involved in humanitarian action from a more theoretical perspective: principle-agent theory, bureaucratic theory, Elitist theories, rational choice and game theory, pluralist, interest group and corporatist theories. This will be discussed in line with a number of case studies. Finally the unit will focus on the impact of the relationship between different levels of governance on the successes and failures of implementing programmes with local partners including local authorities (governments and warlords), militaries and so on.

Study-unit Aims

- To place humanitarian action within the context of global, international and transnational relations generally
- To ensure that students gain a good understanding of the international political system, the main actors within the system, and driving forces behind the actors' policy choices
- To place states' action in relation to that of IOs and NGOs
- To make students understand how policy-making within large organizations is conducted, and what constraints that puts on effective and goal-oriented action

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Comprehend the composition and workings of different political systems and how this impacts on policy making and their multilateral and bilateral relations
- Analyze the role of these different players in the context of humanitarian assistance and development assistance
- Demonstrate an understanding of the outcomes consequent of a multiplicity of actors positioned at different levels in the global system has on deliverables in the context of humanitarian assistance

2. Skills: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Analyze the international political context in which humanitarian action and policy making operates
- Analyze the behavior of large organizations in its complexity
- Determine which political systems, political relations and policy formulas provide best practices

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings


Theories of International Regimes?

International Institutions


Kelly-Kate Pease (2002). International Organizations: Perspectives on Governance in the 21st Century New York: Prentice Hall

Michael Mandelbaum (2006). "Foreign Policy as Social Work" Foreign Affairs Vol75, No 1

Thomas G Weiss, David P Forsythe, and Roger A. Coate United Nations and Changing World POlitics Boulder Westview Press

Alexander Cooley and James Ron "The NGO Scramble: Organisational
Insecurity and the Political Economy of Transnational Action"
International Security Vol 27, No 1 2002, pp5-39

David P Forsythe UNHCR's Mandate: The Politics of Being Non-Political
(Geneva: UNHCR, 2001)

Max Stephenson Jr., Marcy H. Schnitzer Interorganizational trust, boundary
spanning, and humanitarian relief coordination Nonprofit Management and
Leadership Volume 17, Issue 2, pages 211–233, Winter 2006

ADDITIONAL NOTES Co-Requisite Study-units

As prescribed within MA in Humanitarian Action

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM1 Yes 20%
Fieldwork SEM1 Yes 30%
Long Essay SEM1 Yes 50%

LECTURER/S Isabelle Calleja Ragonesi

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.