GEM PhD School

Globalisation, Europe & Multilateralism

Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate


The MORGANITE project is rooted in both International Relation Theory and European Studies as either of these fields has over the past decades been redrawn by significant conceptual debates and factual challenges. These challenges have fostered a host of innovative avenues and a dynamic interdisciplinary dialogue which have allowed for a renewed institutionalist research agenda centred on the parallel dynamics of cooperation and discord within the international and European systems.

Research Agenda

Since the early 1990’s, international institutions have undergone something of a revival illustrated both by a major proliferation of regional initiatives as well as by a growing call for re-invigorated Global Governance mechanisms. Since the end of the naughties, their multiple deficits have undeniably been laid bare by the prolonged financial, economic, and ecologic, and crisis. Such short-comings include: structural difficulties in collaboratively addressing global challenges such as Climate Changes; debilitating stalemates with regards to necessary reforms of key regional and international organizations; blinding uncertainties facing democratic transitions in the Mediterranean and elsewhere; as well as the continued management of local conflicts and human security challenges. All in all, institutional evolutions have not yet meet the changing efficiency and legitimacy challenges facing the global system in the current multipolar world.

Accordingly, in-depth exploration of multilateral and multi-layered institutional dynamics – both in light of their inherent diversities, as well as their converging elements – has become a major research agenda within the social sciences. Various approaches – be they the set of new institutionalisms, or among others constructivist, post-structuralist, cognitivist, and behaviouralist perspectives; have thus come to offer the research community a rich analytical framework wherewith to broach a broad set of multilateral dynamics, both at the regional as well as global level. Transnational networks, ideas, interest representation, changes in statehood, interregional relations, and evolving identities are all possible components of this research agenda centred on the role of regional and international institutions in global affairs.

The MORGANITE Joint Research Project strives to study the institutional implications of the emerging multileveled multilateral global system. These institutional evolutions are to be assessed on the basis of both historical as well as topical perspectives, without neglecting key theoretical and methodological considerations. Above all, its research agenda is to be articulated around the abovementioned interdisciplinary dialogue between International Relations, on the one hand; and European Integration Studies, Comparative Regionalism and Interregional Analysis, on the other.

Accordingly, the MORGANITE Joint Research Project will focus on the following research fields: (1) the factual and conceptual challenges which have coloured the disciplinary debates on Governance, Regulation, Institutional Cooperation, and Multilateralism, both within European Integration Studies and International Relations; (2) the institutional implications of evolving regional, interregional, and global agendas; (3) and the growing interactions and mutual learning-processes emerging between these two levels of enquiry.


Research Questions

A series of specific questions are to be addressed as the institutional dimension of the international system is analysed through a variety of approaches. The debates will focus on the nature of the different institutional actors, processes and settlements on the regional and world stages.

The theoretical issues born from the emerging tensions between the imperatives associated with national State sovereignty on the one hand; and supra- or trans-national challenges or constraints, on the other; will form a recurring leitmotiv throughout the project’s agenda.

While particular attention will be paid to the significance of the institutional debate within the European Union, notably with regards to its External Action; the PhD School will also focus on other institutional arrangements -at the Global and Regional level- which have come to face questions resulting from the evolving global system. MORGANITE will attach particular importance to evaluating, both through comparative analysis as well as interdisciplinary dialogue, to which extent the various existing institutional arrangements can contribute to the emergence and stabilisation of a legitimate and efficient multilateral and multi-levelled Global Governance system.