PIR-20085 - International Organisation: Mitigating Anarchy
Coordinator: Becky Richards Room: CBA1.039 Tel: +44 1782 7 33211
Lecture Time: See Timetable...
Level: Level 5
Credits: 15
Study Hours: 150
School Office:

Programme/Approved Electives for 2023/24


Available as a Free Standing Elective






Barred Combinations


Description for 2023/24

This study of international organisation offers a comprehensive introduction to the theory, history, and practice of international organisations and other organisational institutions, structures, and practices, and critically examines the dominant neo-liberal approach to mitigating the anarchy of the international system. Through an in-depth and interdisciplinary examination of these international institutions, the module introduces students to key themes in the field of international relations. By examining three categories of organisation - organisations and institutions; institutions such as norms, regimes and law; and enforcement and reproduction of this organisation - this module goes beyond the study of tangible institutions and examines the organising products of those institutions as well as how the organisational structures are maintained.
This module brings together intensive empirical study with critical theoretical engagement. The module is designed to equip students with the analytical tools necessary for making sense of the evolution of the international system and its organisation, and for accurately and critically assessing the role of international organisations and institutions therein. The module also acquaints students with key themes and essential readings concerning this subject matter. By tracing the origins, development, proliferation, and reproduction of international organisation, this module provides students with an accessible and comprehensive overview of one of the most important and policy-relevant fields of study in international relations.

1. To enable students to identify existing forms of international organisation in global politics and International Relations.
2. To enable students to engage with key normative frameworks and conceptual debates in the study of international organisation and global governance.
3. To enable students to analyse key functions and contributions of international organisations and institutions; to analyse key functions of norms, regimes, and law in ordering international political space; and to analyse forms of enforcement through intervention.
4. To enable students to critically engage with changing concepts and norms of international relations (e.g. sovereignty).

Talis Aspire Reading List
Any reading lists will be provided by the start of the course.

Intended Learning Outcomes

identify key structures and institutions existing and operating within global political space: 1
analyse key problems in mitigating anarchy and encouraging international cooperation, linking empirical studies with conceptual approaches: 1
evaluate a range of relevant ideas about international organisation and cooperation in terms of their applicability to the analysis of the structures of international politics and international relations: 1
conduct independent research in order to identify, locate, and make use of appropriate paper and web-based materials to supplement the module reading lists: 1
evaluate and employ empirical and theoretical approaches in analysing and solving problems: 1
effectively and fluently communicate in written form complex arguments supported by appropriate evidence: establish sound empirical foundations necessary for further study and critical engagement with key concepts, ideas, and theories: 1
engage with debates on the purpose and function of international organisation: 1

Study hours

Lectures - 15 hours
Tutorials - 7 hours
Pre-lecture readings - 30 hours
Preparing for tutorials - 14 hours
Researching and producing the poster - 34 hours
Researching and writing the essay - 50 hours

School Rules


Description of Module Assessment

1: Poster Presentation weighted 40%
One sided Poster
Students will create a poster explaining and demonstrating the connection between tangible organisations and laws, regimes or norms. Students to incorporate learning about organisations/institutions with learning about norms, regimes, and law. This assessment will require students to research an agency, organisation, or institution not covered in the first lectures, and to identify that institution's role in the establishment or proliferation of norms, regimes, and/or law (the 2nd part of the module). This assessment also allows for students to research smaller agencies, institutions, or organisations that they may wish to work for in the future but which cannot be covered within the lectures or tutorials. The poster will require students to 1) provide an overview explanation of their chosen agency, institution or organisation; and 2) identify and demonstrate the agency/institution/organisations role in reproducing or proliferating regimes, laws or norms. As a poster, students would be expected to write no more than 500-700 words.

2: Essay weighted 60%
2000 word essay
Essay with one set question to the effect of - "Drawing on a case study example of one form of intervention discussed in the lectures, explain how that case exhibits the role of institutions or organisations in the enforcement/reproduction of international organisation." The aim is to assess the 3rd part of the module, but also to assess learning across the module as a whole.