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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Politics of the UN
Module Code LG552
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Gezim Visoka
Semester 2: Walt Kilroy
Autumn: Walt Kilroy
Module TeachersWalt Kilroy
Gezim Visoka
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

The United Nations is a hugely ambitious project of international cooperation and global governance, the closest the international system has come to a form of world government. Emerging from the ashes of World War II but in the lineage of previous (failed) international organizations, the UN has consistently played an important, and sometimes understated, role in world economic, social and political affairs. The relevance of the UN perseveres today in the face of globalization, evolving threats to international peace and security, increased isolationalism, and critiques from both left and right. This module introduces students to the study of the United Nations. We will examine different approaches to studying the UN, its principal organs, the historical evolution of the UN’s role on the world stage from the Cold War to the present day, its role in a range of issue areas, and the main challenges and problems the organisation faces into the future. Students are expected to attend and contribute during class, and utilise the online resources.

Learning Outcomes

1. Understand the major institutional structures of the United Nations
2. Understand key theoretical approaches to international relations and critically analyse the role of the United Nations in framing these approaches
3. Understand and explain the evolution of the United Nations since World War II
4. Analyse and explain the role of the United Nations in a range of policy areas
5. Critically analyse challenges and possible reform options facing the United Nations

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22No Description
Independent Study228No Description
Total Workload: 250

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

The UN: Foundations and basic principles

The UN machinery: Organs, agencies, competencies, and functions

Theoretical perspectives on the UN

Historical development of the UN: Cold War to War on Terror

The UN and peace & security

The UN and human rights

The UN and international development

The UN and environmental degradation

The future of the UN: Relevance and reform?

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentResearch paper50%n/a
AssignmentReaction papers (x4)40%n/a
ParticipationParticipation & attendance10%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Thomas G. Weiss, David P Forsythe, Roger A Coate, and Kelly-Kate Pease: 2014, The United Nations and Changing World Politics, 7th edition, Westview Press, Boulder, CO,
  • Karen A. Mingst and Margaret P. Karns: 2011, The United Nations in the 21st Century, Westview Press, Boulder, CO,
  • Adam Roberts and Benedict Kingsbury: 1993, United Nations, Divided World: The UN's Roles in International Relations, Clarendon Press, Oxford,
  • Thomas G. Weiss and Sam Daws, eds.: 2009, The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations, Oxford University Press, Oxford,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
IMSISSIntnl. Master Security Intelligence
MARIMA in Refugee Integration
MIRMA in International Relations
MISCMA in International Security & Conflict
Date of Last Revision05-OCT-10

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