Not available in 2015/16
EU473 Half Unit
This information is for the 2015/16 session.
Dr Mareike Kleine COW 1.01
This course is available on the MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in European Studies (Research), MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities, MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Global Politics and MSc in Global Politics (Global Civil Society). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
This is a capped course (15 students). Students are required to obtain permission from the teaching department to take this course.
Students should have some background knowledge about the European Union's institutions.
Informality might be the rule rather than the exception in politics. Behind the scenes and alongside official procedures seems to be where many important decisions are being made. In other words, it codified rules are often incomplete, if not entirely misleading, proxies for the game that states and bureaucrats really play. On close inspection, some treaty provisions turn out to be empty shells that have no bearing on actual state behaviour. Even if the rules are effective, most of the interesting political action takes place in the shadow of these rules. At the same time, states often follow commonly known customs that are never put into writing. However, many scholars ignore actual decision-making practices, even or especially if these do not quite conform to the formal rules, or consider them as negligible or as statistical noise that defies any systematic description and explanation. As a result, we know little about why decision makers sometimes stick to formal rules and at other times seek a way around them. Where and why do these practices of informal governance exist? Why are they more prevalent in some institutional settings and issue areas than in others? Is informal governance a good or a bad thing? This course is about informal governance: the concept, its empirical manifestation, its explanation, and its normative implication. After a review of the burgeoning literature of the concept and theory of informal governance in international relations, comparative politics, and EU studies, we take a closer look at the political system of the EU and other international organizations to examine whether and why governments and bureaucrats sometimes follow, and at other times collectively depart from the formal rules. The final weeks discuss how the concept of informal governance sheds new light on debates about transparency and the democratic deficit in European and global governance.
20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.
Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.
Students will be expected to produce one draft and one final research design by week 8 of the LT.
Helmke, Gretchen, and Steven Levitsky. "Informal Institutions and Comparative Politics: A Research Agenda." Perspectives on Politics 2, no. 04 (2004): 725-40; Kleine, Mareike. Informal Governance in the European Union. How Governments Make International Organizations Work. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013; Stone, Randall W. Controlling Institutions. International Organizations and the Global Economy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011; Marcoux, Christopher, and Johannes Urpelainen. "Non-Compliance by Design: Moribund Hard Law in International Institutions." The Review of international organizations 8, no. 2 (2013): 163-91; Cross, James P. "The Seen and the Unseen in Legislative Politics: Explaining Censorship in the Council of Ministers of the European Union." Journal of European Public Policy 21, no. 2 (2013): 268-85.
Research project (90%) in the ST.
Class participation (10%) in the LT.
Successful participation includes active engagement in class and the production of 8 one-page memos on the weekly assigned readings.
Department: European Institute
Total students 2014/15: 8
Average class size 2014/15: 8
Controlled access 2014/15: Yes
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Team working
- Problem solving
- Application of information skills