Insegnamento a.a. 2017-2018



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
CLEAM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - CLEF (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - CLEACC (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BESS-CLES (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - WBB (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BIEF (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04) - BIEM (6 credits - II sem. - OP  |  SPS/04)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (II sem.)

Course Objectives

The course provides models and tools to understand today’s international context by integrating political and economic analysis.

The course is divided into 3 Modules.

Module 1 focuses on the contribution of International Relations (IR) theories to the understanding of the current relations among world powers.

Module 2 revolves around current geopolitical shifts, including regional and country-specific analyses. The latter focus on an overview of the turmoil in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, China’s and other emerging powers’ challenge to the current global order, and the role of the United States and Russia in dealing with both global and regional issues.

Module 3 covers the issue of global and regional governance, with specific attention attached to the functioning, objectives, current crises and future prospects of the United Nations and the European Union.

Course Content Summary

  • Course presentation. Understanding International Relations (IR): complementarity of the economic and political approach.
  • The creation of the modern state system and today’s international context: the main IR theories (realism, liberalism, constructivism and other theoretical approaches).
  • Geopolitical shifts: is the US decline a false myth?
  • Russia: a hollow superpower?
  • The rise of China and the future of the West.
  • The Mediterranean in turmoil: conflicts, regional powers and external intervention.
  • New forms of war: terrorism and international (dis)order.
  • Global Governance: origins of the United Nations (UN).
  • The UN’s main bodies and subsidiary organs: Specialized Agencies, Funds & Programmes.
  • The functioning of the UN (funding and staff) and its major objectives (development, peace and security).
  • IR theories and the functioning of the European Union (EU): Institutions, competencies, decision-making and power distribution.
  • Explaining the creation of the Euro: a political approach.
  • Economic stagnation, migration pressures and rising Euroscepticism: towards European (dis)integration?

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Student must take a written exam. There are two options.
  • Students may take the exam in two written parts: a partial exam and a final exam. Partial exams have to be taken within the same academic year.
  • Alternatively, students may take a final general exam covering all 3 Modules.

Attending students may also propose group projects. The group project is valid until the end of the academic year.


To be defined and communicated during the course.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 11/05/2017 09:32