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School of Social Sciences

Student in the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons
BSocSc Politics and International Relations
Gain the skills to critical examine international and comparative politics.

BSocSc Politics and International Relations

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Politics of the Global Economy

Unit code POLI10502
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Politics of the Global Economy sets out to provide an introduction to the academic discipline  of International Political Economy (IPE). The course will introduce you to the study of the global political economy particularly in the context of globalization, neoliberalism and the recent global financial crisis. It will help you to think about how the main features of the global economy are changing and will familiarise you with the recent history of the global economy. The course is also particularly concerned with how these changes are having an impact on the present.

Unlike many introductory courses that outline a set of particular topics that you need to learn about an academic discipline, this course is built around the research areas of members of the Politics Global Political Economy Research Cluster. All of us are concerned with a set of problems in the global economy and how they influence the lives of ordinary people all around the world. We will introduce you to the problems and issues that we think are crucial to understanding how the world is now, how it could be, and how it should be in the twenty first century – your future.



The unit aims to:


  • introduce students to the study of the global political economy and the phenomenon of globalisation;
  • familiarise students with the recent history of the global economy and its impact on the present;
  • introduce students to the key issues shaping the global political economy.

Learning outcomes


Student should be able to:


  • identify and critically reflect on the main theoretical approaches to the study of the global political economy;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the history of the global economy and the evolution of economic globalisation;
  • reflect on various issues shaping the current phase of economic globalisation and relate them to key theoretical concepts;
  • use the library and other appropriate learning resources to research and prepare academic essays;
  • develop critical, evaluative and communicative skills through in-class presentations, participation in class activities and discussions and through the production of an essay.




After an introductory lecture and seminar, the course turns to the making of today’s globalised economy and the recent global economic crisis. It then aims to familiarise students with some of the key issues shaping the global political economy, including (for example): the impact of globalisation on the state; the global politics of money and finance; international trade; economic development; environmental politics and the role of gender. The module concludes with a lecture and seminar on the alter-globalisation movement and the prospects for changing the shape of global economic governance.


Indicative week-by-week outline:


Week 1: Introduction to the Global Political Economy

Week 2: The Making of a Globalised Economy

Week 3: Neoliberalism and the Global Economic Crisis

Week 4: Globalisation and the State

Week 5: Money and Finance in the Global Era

Week 6: The Politics of International Trade

Week 7: Economic Development and International Aid

Week 8: Global Environmental Politics

Week 9: Gender and the Global Economy

Week 10: Social Struggle, Resistance and Alternatives to Globalisation

Assessment methods

Essay 1,500 words 33%

Two Hour exam 67%

Feedback methods


Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission.

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.

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.

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


Preliminary reading:

O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2013), Global Political Economy: Evolution and Dynamics, 4th edn (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).


Ravenhill, J. (2011), Global Political Economy, 3rd edn (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Greig Charnock Unit coordinator
Stuart Shields Unit coordinator
Japhy Wilson Unit coordinator
Ian Bruff Unit coordinator
Adrienne Roberts Unit coordinator
Carl Death Unit coordinator
Matthew Paterson Unit coordinator

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