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Follow the Money and OXFAM GB trying to influence debates on inequality, arms trade or tax havens; trade unions attempting to make countries respect global labour standards; and corporations trying to shape rules regulating investment in their favour. These are all examples of Non-state actors (NSAs) trying to change opinions and actions on a regional, global or transnational level. Is there a thing as ‘power from below’, as opposed to state power, and if so, under what conditions does it occur and should it be facilitated? This honours module is for students who are interested in discussions about the role of NSAs, including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and corporations, operating beyond the boundaries of states.

While for the most part International Relations scholars still consider states the main units of analysis, over the past decades NSAs have obtained increased attention due to the causes they support, the voices they represent, and their strategies. This has given rise to a number of questions, such as whether the inclusion of NSAs in regional and global decision-making is warranted and legitimate, and whether these NSAs actually hold a certain amount of power or influence. Theoretical approaches from disciplines such as sociology, economics, philosophy, legal studies and political science that try to account for the (lack of) power or influence that NSAs have on a global level, and assess the legitimacy and necessity of such influence, will be discussed. Studying these issues from an interdisciplinary angle helps us to understand how NSAs can contribute, or may deter, finding solutions for complex problems such as environmental degradation, pandemics or social questions on a global level.

Besides discussing approaches to answer these questions, this module makes students familiar with writing a policy brief. Such an exercise contributes to the development of an important skill; transforming scientific results into a tool that can be employed by NSAs to facilitate action.


All lectures will take place on-campus and we assume you can be physically present during the scheduled hours. You can find the timetable on Datanose.


Registration is possible for second or higher year students participating in an Honours programme. The registration for the Honours courses will start on December 1, 10 am -  December 5, 11 pm, You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS(registration is NOT through SIS or GLASS).

Please note: There is no guarantee no guarantee for placement if you register after 5 December, so make sure you register on time. You will hear which course(s) you are registered for before 20 december. For questions about registration, please contact us at

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