GV4C2      Half Unit
Globalization, Conflict and Post-Totalitarianism

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Mary Kaldor 50L2.06 and Denisa Kostovicova


This course is available on the MSc in African Development, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Human Rights and MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

The students of MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Global Politics (Global Civil Society), and MSc in Comparative Politics have priority access to the course in the listed order.

This course has limited availability (is capped), and requires that students (regardless of Department or MSc programme) obtain permission from the teacher responsible.  It is capped at 2 groups. The deadline for receipt of applications will be 12 noon, on Monday, 3 October 2016. You will be informed of the outcome by 12 noon, Wednesday 5 October 2016. 


Course content

The course offers a theoretically informed account of the challenges faced by post-totalitarian transition countries emerging out of totalitarian regimes in the era of globalisation, and examines them empirically in reference to examples from the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. The regions chosen are those which have experienced particular difficulties in effecting a peaceful process of transition to democracy, market economy and integration in a multilateral system. The course will start with an introduction to theories of globalisation and the reasons why the legacy of totalitarianism is different from the legacy of classic authoritarian states. The course is structured around three issue areas: political ideologies and state breakdown; transition economy and organised crime; post-totalitarian society. It looks at nationalism linked to global diasporas and fundamentalist networks, new wars in the context of international intervention, and international protectorates. Transition economy includes both an introduction to transition strategies (privatisation, liberalisation and macro-economic stabilisation) as well as the perverse effects of illegal economic networks and organised crime stemming both from the totalitarian past and the impact of globalisation. The last block of questions investigates post-totalitarian societies from the perspective of transition justice, (un)civil societies and new minorities. While analysing these issues accompanied with relevant regional illustrations particular attention is made to grasp unique aspects of post-totalitarianism triggered by the simultaneity of transition and globalisation.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.

There will be a reading week in week 6 of the MT in which activities will focus on preparing for the assessed essay.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to produce one written essay, plus one short presentation on topics assigned to them.

Indicative reading

Mary Kaldor, New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in a Global Era, Polity, 1999; Denisa Kostovicova and Vesna Bojicic-Dzelilovic (eds) Persistent State Weakness in the Global Age, Ashgate, 2009; Miles Kahler and Barbara F. Walter (eds) Territoriality and Conflict in an Era of Globalization, Cambridge University Press, 2009; Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas: an Introduction, UCL Press, 1997; Mark Juergensmeyer, Terror in the Mind of God: the Global Rise of Religious Violence, University of California Press, 2000; Anthony Giddens, Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping our Lives, Profile, 2002; Ruti Teitel, Humanity's Law, Oxford University Press, 2011; Naomi Roht-Arriaza and Javier Mariezcurrena (eds) Transitional Justice in the Twenty-first Century: Beyond Truth versus Justice, Cambridge University Press, 2006; Cohen Stanley, States of Denial: Knowing About Atrocities and Suffering, Cambridge, UK, Polity, Malden, MA, Blackwell Publishers, 2001; R Naylor, Wages of Crime: Black Markets, Illegal Finance and the Underworld Economy, Cornell University Press, 2002; Richard Caplan, International Governance of War-Torn Territories: Rule and Reconstruction, Oxford University Press, 2005; Petr Kopecky & Cas Mudde (eds), Uncivil Society?: Contentious Politics in Post-Communist Europe, Routledge, 2002; David Chandler, International Statebuilding: The Rise of Post-Liberal Governance, Routledge, 2010; Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus, Can Intervention Work?, W.W. Norton, 2011.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2015/16: 32

Average class size 2015/16: 16

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (LT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills