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Global Studies (GLST) 440
Global Governance and Law

GLST 440 closed November 6, 2007, replaced by current version.

Delivery mode: Individualized study or grouped study.

Credits: 3 - Social Science

Prerequisite: None. A prior course in international studies, critical social theory, sociology or political science is recommended.

Precluded course: GLST 440 is a cross-listed course—a course listed under 2 different disciplines—GOVN 440. GLST 440 may not be taken for credit by students who have obtained credit for GOVN 440. This is a senior course and as such students are expected to have advanced analytical and writing skills.

Centre: Centre for Global and Social Analysis

GLST 440 has a Challenge for Credit option.

Course Web site


Global Studies 440: Global Governance and Law provides an overview of some of the central debates on law as governance in a globalized world, especially in regard to violence and the use of force, conceptions of political community, legal legitimacy and democratic practices. Particular attention is paid to the impact of international organizations and global social movements on the regulation of violence, economics and politics globally. Key questions discussed include the following: What is governance for? Who is being governed? Who participates in governance? Where does accountability lie? How does law function? The course considers these and other questions, as it looks at various institutions of governance, including several institutions of the United Nations (UN), Multilateral Economic Institutions (MEIs) and International Criminal Tribunals, as well as governmental and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Students will gain a broad understanding of some of the problems posed by globalization for governance and law in political life, from a contemporary social theory perspective.

Global Studies 440 provides the tools and concepts relevant to understanding how practices of governance function in contemporary societies and toward what ends. The course is divided into five parts. The first part is an introduction to the subject of global governance and law, to Michel Foucault's theory of governance and law, and to the perspectives of some of his critics. The second part of the course elaborates upon conceptions of law as governance, and the idea of sociology of law as governance. The third part covers global legal governance and the use of violence, and the relationship of the UN, and International Criminal Tribunals to the laws of war. The fourth part explores notions of humane governance, and assesses the challenges posed by sovereignty and security. The final part of the course explores contestations of global governance by global social movements, including women, labour and environmental movements. In Global Studies 440 students develop a sophisticated understanding of the intellectual terrain of governance and law in a globalized world.


Part I: Global Governance and Law

  • Unit 1: Introduction to Global Governance and Law
  • Unit 2: Governance, Governmentality and Law
  • Review of Part I

Part II: Modernity and Legal Governance

  • Unit 3: Law as Governance
  • Unit 4: A Sociology of Law as Governance
  • Review of Part II

Part III: Global Legal Governance and the Use of Violence

  • Unit 5: Law Against Violence, Violence of Law
  • Unit 6: The United Nations, International Criminal Tribunals and Laws of War
  • Review of Part III

Part IV: Toward Humane Governance

  • Unit 7: Globalization, Sovereignty and Security
  • Unit 8: Democracy and Global Civil Society
  • Review of Part IV

Part V: Contesting Global Governance

  • Unit 9: Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements
  • Unit 10: Women, Labour, and Environmental Movements
  • Review of Part V


To receive credit, you must submit all the required course assignments and complete them to the satisfaction of your tutor. To receive credit for the course you must achieve an overall course and examination grade of “D” (50 percent) or better. The passing grade for the final examination is also a “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the assignments and exams are outlined below.

Evaluation Activity Units Covered Credit Weight
TME 1—Theory Paper After Unit 4 25 %
TME 2—Research Essay After Unit 8 40 %
Final Examination After all units and assignments complete 35 %
Total   100 %

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Falk, Richard. 1995. On Humane Governance: Toward a New Global Politics, University Park. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Hunt, Alan and Gary Wickham. 1994. Foucault and Law: Towards a Sociology of Law as Governance. London: Pluto Press.

O’Brien, Robert, Jan Aarte Scholte, Anne Marie Goetz and Marc Williams. 2000. Contesting Global Governance: Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Other materials

The course materials include a student manual, study guide, assignment manual, reading file, and forms.