• Offered by Department of International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject International Relations
  • Areas of interest International Relations
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person

All activities that form part of this course will be delivered remotely in Sem 2 2020.

This course explores the contested concept of global civil society and its relevance to the study of contemporary world politics. It begins by mapping the various interpretations of what constitutes civil society and the actors within it. Against this conceptual background, special attention will be given to the role and effectiveness of international non-governmental organisations (NGOs). By taking a bottom-up approach to solving problems on a global scale, these organisations are often seen as a substitute for inter-state diplomacy as well as a corrective to the failures of global capitalism. The aim of this course will be to critically assess the potential for such organisations to act as a 'third force' in international politics. To this end, the course will address the participation of NGOs at international forums, the relationship between NGOs and donor institutions, and the wider representative role of NGOs within society. The final part of the course will investigate the activities of NGOs in relation to key issues such as women's rights, humanitarian intervention, development and environmental degradation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Identify the key elements of the evolution of civil society at the global level
  2. Critically evaluate how contested concepts of global society relate to contemporary world politics
  3. Apply their new knowledge and skills to an empirical case study and in so doing develop their capacity to research new issues
  4. Communicate their critical understanding of global civil society in a clear and concise way through assignments and participation in discussions

Other Information

The course is conducted through seminars with an emphasis on interactive teaching aimed at engaging all students in active participation.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Please note that this assessment is indicative only. The actual assessment for the course is provided in the Class Summary prior to the commencement of the semester in which the course is being conducted and may differ from this assessment. (null) [LO null]
  2. Oral Presentation (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. First Essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  4. Second Essay (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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Approximately 130 hours comprising seminars as well as associated preparation, independent study, and assessment time.

Please note this is a general guide, averaged over the semester and the final hours ultimately depend on the individual's ability in reading and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

To be advised


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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There are no current offerings for this course.

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