Winter Term 1996
Simon Duke
Department of International Relations and European Studies
Central European University

Course Description

The course is designed to introduce students to the types, functions and range of international organizations that, over the last century or so, have become increasingly significant actors on the world stage. International organizations range enormously in their function and organization and, for this reason, a few examples only within each type of organization will be selected. The types of international organization range from IGOs (international government organizations) to international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) and multi-national corporations (MNCs).

Consideration is given to the growing array of issues on the agendas of international organizations which, to mention but a few, include such issues as social justice, economic well-being, the ecological balance and non-violence. Amongst the topics to be covered are collective security, peacekeeping, peaceful settlement, disarmament/arms control, self-determination, human rights, refugees, economic development, ecosystems and communications.

A heavy emphasis will be placed on understanding the functions and workings of the United Nations for two reasons; first, it is the largest and most comprehensive of the IGOs and, arguably, the only IGO that truly deserves the accolade 'international,' and; second, the high profile of the United Nations has engendered much dispute amongst international relations scholars.


Please note that the schedule and readings are only suggested. Students are encouraged to read around subjects of particular interest and additional readings can be suggested by the instructor.

Week 1: The Historical Context
-The evolution of webs of international organizations
-Early proposals for IGOs
-The need for international organizations

Reading: A 1-33, B 1-22, RP 1-21, J 3-19, 21-29,30-58

Week 2: Assessment of the Field
-The rise and fall of international organizations as a field of study
-Differing approaches to international organizations: some comparisons

Reading: A 38-71, J 21-33, S 3-32,33-74

Week 3: Inter-organizational Theory

-Theoretical approaches
-International regimes: conceptual problems
-National entanglements in international organizations

Reading: A 71-131, J 59-74, S 33-120, B 250-271

Week 4: Structure and Function

-The constitutional structure
-Powers, structure and functions of international organizations
-Nonterritorial systems

Reading: A 131-77, RP 22-47, J 77-83, B 163-193

Week 5: The League Experiment

-The interwar years
-The League's Covenant
-Italy invades Ethiopia
-The end of the experiment and WW II

Reading: J 33-59,163-4,190-1,176-7,211,249,267-8,300-5, B 22-52 RP 6-22

Week 6: The UN Charter

-Comparison of the Charter and Covenant
-The Security Council
-The General Assembly
-The political process
-Politics &;the UN Secretariat
-Financing the UN

Reading: B 52-72, 425-462 RP 22-121, J 99-132, S 75-119

Week 7: Collective Security

-Security through collective action
-The exercise of the veto in the UN
-Peaceful settlement of disputes
-The UN and peacekeeping operations

Reading: RP 122-149, B 96-163

Disarmament/Arms Control
-Disarmament &;Arms control compared
-Nuclear proliferation
-The role of the IAEA

Reading: RP 150-184 217-234, B 193-215, S 163-195

Week 8: Self-determination
-N-S-D as a principle
-The emergence of new states
-New states and the UN

Reading: RP 217-34, B 351-372

Human Rights

-The UN and Human Rights
-Human-rights rule making
-Human-rights organizations

Reading: S 227-260, B 372-381, RP 240-9, 394-399

Week 9: Economic Development

-The nature of international economic organization
-The needs of the World's Poor
-Promoting Economic Development
-Emergency relief

Reading: RP 274-292,302-343, S 195-226, B 301-325, F 106-147, 148-214, 274-303

Week 10: Multinational Corporations

-David and Goliath: MNCs and states
-The effects of MNCs
-Redistributing wealth?

Week 11: Contemporary Problems for IGOs
-The finance problem
-Reassessing state/IGO relations
-Economic giants and political dwarfs
-Emerging patterns of global policy
-World government

Reading: B 250-301, RP 274-302, A 178-187, RP 344-54, J 391-416, S 350-74, B 405-416, F 424-446

Archer, Clive, (A), International Organizations (2nd ed.)
Jacobson H. (J), Networks of Interdependence: International Organizations &;the Global Political System (2nd. ed.)
Riggs R.E. &;Plano J.C. (RP), The United Nations: International Organizations and World Politics
Bennett L.A. (B), International Organizations: Principles and Issues (2nd ed.)
Soroos M.S. (S), Beyond Sovereignty: The Challenge of Global Policy

Recommended Reading:

The changes since the end of the Cold War have been so rapid and momentous but, unfortunately, these changes cannot always be reflected in the reading. It is therefore essential that students read, on a daily basis, a quality newspaper.

There are also periodicals that will contain valuable, up-to-date material. Students are encouraged to browse but those that should appear on your "must read" list should include: International Organization, Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy.

CRC-Curriculum Resource Center
CEU Budapest, Hungary
Modified: April, 1996


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