CPOL 2261 International Institutions in World Politics

Often described as ‘anarchic’, due to its lack of a recognized, centralized authority, the international system is, nonetheless, profoundly shaped and influenced by a number of international organizations, institutions, laws, regulations and norms, which have been created by these states themselves. But, in practice, how important are these international rules and institutions in ensuring order, peace and stability in international relations? Moreover, how extensive should the authority of such institutions be in constraining the actions and conduct of the world’s nearly 200 states?

In this course, we will engage with these and other pressing questions, considering the various ways in which states have attempted to bring organization and order to the realm of international relations. In particular, this course will focus on the specific role played by formal international institutions in creating a global order, with special attention paid to these institutions’ functions and activities. In the first half of the course, we will analyze the historical creation of the Post-WWII multilateral order, subsequently examining the role played by organizations like the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union, among others. In the later half of the course, we will shift our focus to examine how international organizations and institutions have attempted to regulate and manage a host of some of the most pressing contemporary global challenges, including climate change, international security, global terrorism, and migration.



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