Political Science: Post-Westphalian Politics


Syllabus for students autumn 2018, autumn 2017, autumn 2016, autumn 2015

Course Code:
ST611L revision 1
Swedish name:
Statsvetenskap: Postwestfalisk Politik
Level of specialisation
Main fields of study:
Political Science
Date of ratification:
22 August 2014
Decision-making body:
Faculty of Culture and Society
Enforcement date:
31 August 2015

Entry requirements

A Bachelor’s Degree within a social science field, e.g., Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, International Relations, Human Rights or a related major field. English B

Specialisation and progression relative to the degree regulations

The course is part of the main field of study Political Science at advanced level and meets the degree requirements for the degree of Master, main field of study Political Science.


The purpose of this course is to provide the students with a critical understanding how the nation-state, both as a concept and institutional form, structures how politics is understood and conducted, and how conventional ways of understanding politics is being challenged.


What is the “nation-state” and what are its future prospects as the predominant form of organized politics?

This question will be addressed by inquring into (1) how the nation-state emerged historically and how it has formed the basis of politics for the last three centuries; (2) what the role of international organizations are and what effects they have on nation-states; and (3) how we can develop useful theoretical concepts to understand the role of and relationship between nation-states and international organizations in the 21st Century.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding
On completion of the course the student shall demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • contemporary theoretical ideas about the modern nation-state, State, and the Westphalian system;
  • the concept of the post-Westphalian system and how states cooperate in international organizations;
  • how international organizations develop as bureaucracies and as actors in their own right; and
  • the idea that international organizations can socialize states.

Skills and abilities
On completion of the course the student shall demonstrate an ability to
  • engage closely with theories about multi-level governance;
  • use theoretical concepts and analytical approaches in analyses of past and present empirical phenomena, such as policy diffusion and policy transfer.

Judgement and approach
On completion of the course the student shall demonstrate a capacity to

  • analyze and assess information on a scientific basis;
reflect on how empirical material is used to explain or understand changing political contexts.

Learning activities

Teaching methods consist of self-study, along with lectures and seminars. The lectures aim to provide an overview of the relevant theoretical and empirical concepts and research. The seminars aim to open up discussions about the theories and their application to different cases. For the seminars, students may be required to prepare oral and/or written presentations.


Students will be examined by means of a portfolio including 1-2 written papers.

Grading system

Excellent (A), Very Good (B), Good (C), Satisfactory (D), Pass (E) or Fail (U).

Course literature and other teaching materials

  • Pierson, Christopher. 2012. The Modern State. London: Routledge. 3rd edn.
  • Barnett, Michael and Finnemore, Martha. 2004. Rules for the World: International Organizations in Global Politics. New York: Cornell UP.
Up to 300 pages of additional material, which may vary from year to year.

Course evaluation

The University provides students who participate in or who have completed a course with the opportunity to make known their experiences and viewpoints with regards to the course by completing a course evaluation administered by the University. The University will compile and summarize the results of course evaluations as well as informing participants of the results and any decisions relating to measures initiated in response to the course evaluations. The results will be made available to the students (HF 1:14).

Interim rules

If a course ceases to be available or has undergone any major changes, the students are to be offered two opportunities to retake the examination during the year following the change for re-examination, based on the syllabus which applied at registration.

Other Information

The Language of instruction is English.


The education is provided by the Faculty of Culture and Society at the Department of Global Political Studies.

Further information

GPSstudent - Malmö universitet,
John H. S. Åberg, Course Coordinator
Phone: 040-6657435