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The Role of Superpowers. How do superpowers maintain power and influence international decision making?. L/O: To understand the ways in which superpowers sustain their power and their roles in international decision making. The maintenance of power.

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the role of superpowers

The Role of Superpowers

How do superpowers maintain power and influence international decision making?

L/O: To understand the ways in which superpowers sustain their power and their roles in international decision making.

the maintenance of power
The maintenance of power
  • The challenge for superpowers is maintaining their status.
  • How this happens has changed over time.
  • Up to 1945 – large areas under colonial rule (European)
  • Colonial rule has distinct phases:
    • Exploration – discovery of new lands.
    • Initial settlement – usually coastal.
    • Trade in raw materials begin.
    • Gradual extension or territories using military action.
    • Development of political, economic and social systems to rule and exploit colony.
  • Kept indigenous people in poverty with little freedoms.
maintaining power after colonialism
Maintaining power after colonialism
  • Decolonialisation and independence led to conflict and division on many regions.
    • Colonial borders did not reflect religious/ethnic boundaries – territory conflict.
    • Lack of governmental experience as local people were often banned from working in colonial institutions.
    • Colonial powers left – power vacuum/struggle – led to violence.

This led to:

  • Neo-Colonialism
    • Indirect control over developing countries (mainly former colonies).
    • Use of MNCs/TNCs, and IGOs to control and maintain power.
    • Mainly linked with Africa – used to explain the lack of development on the continent.
    • Argued that it has prevented real development progress in 40 years.
    • A theory which cannot be proved.
    • Developed world maintains power over parts of developing world.
    • An extension of dependency theory?
colonial india case study research task
Colonial India – Case study research task
  • Create a timeline of British rule in India.
  • Explain why the railway system was vital to India.
  • Create a map of the partition of India.
    • Include the following countries and regions:
      • India
      • West Pakistan
      • East Pakistan
      • Bengal
      • Pujab
      • Kashmir
      • Burma
      • Ceylon
  • Annotate the map with information about what happened because of the partition.
    • Use these key events:
      • War between India and Pakistan
      • How many people moved across the border and why?
      • War in East Pakistan
      • Creation of Bangladesh
    • Key Dates to include:
      • 1947
      • 1971
maintaining power through international decision making
Maintaining power through international decision making
  • Superpower leaders often on the world stage – key decisions about world economy, conflicts and environment.
  • Economic/political power is at the hands of IGOs, run by a handful of people.
  • Critics say they were set up by superpowers for superpowers.

Task: Research the following:

Founding year, Headquarters, Function/Role and members.

Put this information into a table for these IGOs:

  • IMF
  • World Bank
  • UN
  • WTO
  • NATO
  • OECD
  • G8

Complete a matrix on membership of IGOs like the one shown.


Homework: How far do you agree with this statement?

“IGOs have been setup by superpowers for superpowers.

Explain and justify your choices.”