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School of Social Sciences

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BAEcon Economics
Learn how the social sciences can help you to understand today's world.

BAEcon Economics / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Ideologies of Global Capitalism

Unit code POLI31002
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course provides an advanced introduction to the critique of ideology in the context of global capitalism. Topics addressed include neoliberalism, globalization, technocratic governance, nationalist populism, far-right fundamentalism, charity, philanthropy, ecology, economic crises, apocalyptic cultural narratives, and a variety of capitalist and post-capitalist utopias. Through a research-driven investigation of these themes, the course will provide students with the conceptual tools and critical skills required to identify and deconstruct the ideological dimensions of the global political economy.

The course begins by introducing some of the key themes and concepts of ideology critique, before presenting a comprehensive overview of the history of ideology, in relation to the historical consolidation of the global capitalist system. From the fourth lecture onwards, the course develops the key theoretical approaches introduced in the initial lectures, through an exploration the dominant ideological strategies and social fantasies of contemporary global capitalism.

Aims

To introduce and critically assess key approaches to the critique of ideology, in relation to various dimensions of contemporary global capitalism.

 

To explore how multiple aspects of the global political economy are shaped and sustained by ideological discourses, strategies, fantasies and rituals.

 

To identify the contradictions of global capitalism, and to decipher the ways in which these contradictions manifest themselves within and beyond ideology. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate the following:

Knowledge and understanding:  A sophisticated understanding of the literature on the critique of ideology, and a broad knowledge of the relationship between ideology and key dimensions of the global political economy.

Intellectual skills: The capacity to critically engage with policy documents, media reports, and promotional campaigns associated with various aspects of contemporary global capitalism.

Transferable skills and personal qualities:  Improved writing, debating, and presentation skills; the capacity to summarise, criticise and mobilise complicated ideas; the ability to make sense of and to challenge complex theoretical arguments; the ability to decipher ideological discourses and rituals.

Syllabus

The course is organised around ten topics:

1.    Introduction: What is Ideology?

2.    History of Ideology I

3.    History of Ideology II

4.    The Neoliberal Complex

5.    The Post-Political Condition

6.    The Libidinal Economy

7.    Ethical Capitalism

8.    Apocalypse

9.    Utopia

10. Beyond Ideology? 

Teaching and learning methods

Each topic is addressed by a two-hour lecture and a one hour tutorial. Each lecture will provide a broad critical overview of the topic in question, and will focus on the theoretical and conceptual problematics presented by this theme. The first five tutorials will focus on elucidating the theoretical dimensions of ideology critique, while the remainder of the tutorials will offer student-driven applications of these theories to the themes in question, in relation to contemporary examples of the ideologies of global capitalism.

 

Knowledge and understanding

A sophisticated understanding of the literature on the critique of ideology, and a broad knowledge of the relationship between ideology and key dimensions of the global political economy. 

Intellectual skills

The capacity to critically engage with policy documents, media reports, and promotional campaigns associated with various aspects of contemporary global capitalism. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Improved writing, debating, and presentation skills; the capacity to summarise, criticise and mobilise complicated ideas; the ability to make sense of and to challenge complex theoretical arguments; the ability to decipher ideological discourses and rituals.

Assessment methods

One 3,500 word essay (50%)

One 1,750 word essay (25%)

Group Presentation (25%)

Feedback methods

Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission via Blackboard (if submitted through Turnitin).

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results. This applies to Semester 2 modules only. Semester one modules with no final examination will have their feedback available within the 15 working days.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor. Tutors and Course Convenors also have a dedicated office hour when you can meet with her/him to discuss course unit specific problems and questions.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff

Recommended reading

·         Boltanski, L. and E. Chiapello (2007) The New Spirit of Capitalism (Verso)

·         Eagleton, T. (2007) Ideology: An Introduction (Verso)

·         Freeden, M. (2003) Ideology: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press)

·         Rehman, J. (2013) Theories of Ideology: The Powers of Alienation and Subjection (Brill)

·         Tomši¿, S. (2015) The Capitalist Unconscious: Marx and Lacan (London: Verso)

·         Wilson, J. (2014) Jeffrey Sachs: The Strange Case of Dr Shock and Mr Aid (Verso)

·         Žižek, S. ed. (1994) Mapping Ideology (Verso)

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 10
Tutorials 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Japhy Wilson Unit coordinator

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