Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Global Justice: Theorizing and Realizing Duties to Distant Strangers
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 8 x 2 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 8 x 1 hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Seminar Contribution / Learning Logs  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   1 x 2 hour examination  30%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Outline the theories of key thinkers in contemporary liberal political theory.
2. Outline the central philosophical ideas of those theories that fall under the rubric of 'Global Justice'.
3. Evaluate the implications of 'statist' and 'cosmopolitan' approaches for international political theory.
4. Appraise and put forward theoretical arguments.
5. Compare and critically analyze the various accounts of global inequality.
6. Evaluate a range of policy recommendations for assisting under-developed regions.
7. Analyze the normative implications of a variety of perspectives on under-development.
8. Discuss the broader significance and role of international political theory within the field of IR.


This module adds to the Departmental provision in the areas of international political theory and third world politics by providing a sustained focus on the theoretical and normative debates surrounding the issue of underdevelopment. It complements existing provision in a range of different areas, building on knowledge acquired in Part One modules such as IP12220 Revolution and Continuity in Political Philosophy, IP10420 Introduction to International Politics and IP10620 Introduction to the Third World in International Politics and at Part Two in such modules as IP39220 The Third World in International Politics. It allows interested students to gain specialist knowledge of a variety of theories of under-development, policy debates, and philosophical arguments regarding the importance and moral necessity of assisting the distant needy.

Brief description

This module examines the problem of global poverty. The primary engagement with this issue will be through normative theory, and theories of underdevelopment - and their attendant policy recommendations. Students will engage with philosophical debates under the rubric of 'global justice'. These debates are generally located within contemporary liberal political theory, especially the tradition inspired by the work of John Rawls, and they are focused on how we can justify duties to distant strangers and how they might best be realized. The module will also look in some detail at the empirical theories that inform these debates, evaluating a variety of theoretical perspectives on development. Finally, students will be encouraged to reflect on both normative and empirical debates and evaluate the various policy prescriptions that arise from these competing perspectives. This module will be available to students studying through the medium of Welsh and English.


- Introduction: Discourses of Global Justice - Theory, Economics and Action

- Political Modernization vs World Systems Theory: A Historical Perspective
- Fair Trade: A "Just" International Political Economy?
- State-Building and Democratization: Ameliorative Assistance or Unjustified Intervention?
- Development Aid: Should we or Shouldn't we?
- Political Theory in International Relations: Making room for the "moral" in IR
- Cosmopolitan Liberalism: Justifying duties to distant strangers
- Social Liberalism: Justifying duties to under developed states
- Debating Duties: Do we owe more or less to peoples or persons?

- Conclusion: Which way now? Realizing Global Justice


This module is at CQFW Level 6