MA Politics

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Critical Globalisation Studies

Unit code POLI70282
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course involves critical examination of the political economy of globalisation in theory and practice, providing an advanced introduction to the diverse field of critical globalisation studies. Students will engage with critical theory to discuss defining characteristics and crisis conditions of globalisation. The course provides students with increased understanding of the historical emergence of a globalised economy and of the impacts of globalisation on world order. Students will grapple with  critical theoretical debates that illuminate a series of major issues in processes of globalisation. The course begins with a situated introduction to critical studies of globalisation, then proceeds to explore the connections between globalisation and ideology, neoliberalism, capitalism, and neo-colonialism. The latter part of the course considers the implications for globalisation of feminist analyses of social reproduction, of environmentalist concerns about ecological systems collapse, of global developmentalism and its connections to production and consumption, and of movements seeking alter- and anti- globalisation in both progressive and reactionary forms. The course concludes with a discussion of utopian and dystopian thought and its bearings for imaginaries of global futures.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding: Students will develop and have the opportunity to demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of contemporary literatures and debates on the political economy of globalisation.

Intellectual skills: Students will critically engage with theoretically-driven interpretations of contemporary political, economic and social events, and will put these approaches to work in the original critical analysis of central dimensions of globalisation. They will develop an understanding of the basic concepts of the critique of globalisation; possess a knowledge of a range of different issues connected with globalisation and the emergence of a global economy; be able to offer critical analyses concerning issues related to globalisation; and will formulate their own opinions on the political-economic challenges brought about by globalisation.

 Transferable skills and personal qualities: Students will be encouraged to exercise and demonstrate their own independent critical judgement of literature, arguments, and events. The module will foster improved writing, debating, teamwork and presentation skills, as well as the capacity to summarise, criticise and mobilise complex ideas.

As with other modules in Politics, this module will be useful for students wishing to develop and demonstrate skills that can be applied in a wide range of different jobs, voluntary roles, internships and work placements.  It could be particularly useful for people considering careers in the civil service, journalism, think tanks, research and policy, and charitable organizations.


Teaching and learning methods

2-hour seminar once a week for 10 weeks

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 25%
Written assignment (inc essay) 75%

1.      3,000 word assessed essay (75% of final mark)

2.      Seminar participation and online discussion boards (25% of final mark)

Recommended reading

There is no textbook for this course, and all the readings can be found on Blackboard, online, or in the library. However, useful advanced introductions to some of the diverse topics addressed in this course include the following:

  • Appelbaum, R. & Robinson, W. (eds.) (2005) Critical Globalization Studies (London: Routledge).
  • Dicken, P. (2015) Global Shift: Mapping the Contours of the World Economy, 7th edition (Guildford Press).
  • Harvey, D. (2014) Seventeen Contradictions and the End of Capitalism (New York: Profile)
  • Katz-Rosene, R. & Paterson, M. (2018) Thinking Ecologically about the Global Political Economy (London: Routledge).
  • Moore, J (2016) Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History and the Crisis of Capitalism Oakland: PM Press
  • Peck, J. (2010) Constructions of Neoliberal Reason (Oxford: OUP)
  • Peterson, V. S. (2003) A Critical Re-Writing of Global Political Economy (London: Routledge)
  • Rupert, M. (2000) Ideologies of Globalization (London: Routledge).
  • Santos, M (2017) Toward An Other Globalization: From the Single Thought to Universal Conscience Springer

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Robert Watt Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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