MA Political Science - European Politics & Policy Pathway (Research Route) / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Capitalism and Development in the Middle East

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI71312
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
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course unit aims to:


  1. Explore global capitalist relations and processes in the context of the Middle East and North Africa
  2. Develop students’ critical thinking, research and writing skills
  3. Develop students’ theoretical understanding and argumentation by exposing them to different arguments and perspectives, and helping them link it to real-life topics

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught through ten 2-hour seminars. It will be structured around key readings, student presentations and discussions. Student presentations will start the session, breaking down readings’ key arguments and presenting them in simple (albeit academic) terms for their audience. They will be followed by a student-run seminar discussion.

Knowledge and understanding

Understand critical approaches to the political economy of the Middle East as part and parcel of global capitalism, rather than an exceptional case, based on interdisciplinary insights.

Intellectual skills

Apply theoretical concepts and arguments to empirical cases and contemporary political developments, understand the connections between different phenomena and cases in the global political economy, connect policy and academic writings, and think in dialectical and relational terms.

Practical skills

Research relevant topics of their choosing, construct and defend their arguments in writing, present readings’ key arguments and engage in discussion with their peers.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Question dominant narratives and critique arguments, develop informed positions on topics, debate with peers, simplify and present theoretical/academic knowledge, and improve academic/formal writing.

Assessment methods

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

Assessment task (Please include opportunities for formative feedback)

Length required

Weighting within unit (if relevant)


Media Analysis (in the first half of the course, students will critically respond to and analyze one news piece/report on the Middle East using the theoretical concepts covered in class. 

1000 words


Formative and Summative

Paper Outline (in the second half of the course, students will submit a tentative outline of their final paper, with a provisional research question, argument and bibliography, for feedback from the instructor)

400 words


Formative and Summative

Final Research Paper (at the end of the course, students will submit a final research paper from a list of questions or on a topic of their choice, related to the ME’s political economy, relying on a theoretical framework/concept covered in class)

2600 words



Recommended reading

Tentative General Titles:

Baumann, Hannes. 2016. Citizen Hariri: Lebanon’s Neoliberal Reconstruction. Oxford University Press.

Beinin, Joel, Haddad, Bassam and Seikaly, Sherene, eds. 2021. A Critical Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa. Stanford University Press.

Bogaert, Koenraad. 2011. “The Problem of Slums: Shifting Methods of Neoliberal Urban Government in Morocco.” Development and Change 42(3): 709-731.

Bush, Ray and Ayeb, Habib, eds. 2012. Marginality and Exclusion in Egypt. Zed Books.

Fawaz, Mona. 2009. “Neoliberal Urbanity and the Right to the City: A View from Beirut’s Periphery.” Development and Change 40(5): 827-852.

Haddad, Bassam, Bsheer, Rosie and Abu-Rish, Ziad, eds. 2012. The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order? Pluto Press.

Hanieh, Adam. 2013. Lineages of Revolt. Haymarket Books.

Hanieh, Adam. 2018. Money, Markets and Monarchies: The Gulf Cooperation Council and the Political Economy of the Middle East. Cambridge University Press.

Lenner, Katharina and Lewis Turner. 2018. “Making Refugees Work? The Politics of Integrating Syrian Refugees into the Labor Market in Jordan,” Middle East Critique 28(1): 65-95.

Morris, Julia. 2020. “Extractive Landscapes: The Case of the Jordan Refugee Compact,” Refuge 36(1): 87-96.

Salem, Sara. Anticolonial Afterlives in Egypt: The Politics of Hegemony. Cambridge University Press.

Tabar, Linda and Samia Al-Botmeh. 2021. “Real Estate Development Through Land Grabs: Predatory Accumulation and Precarity in Palestine,” New Political Economy 26(5): 783-796.

Tansel, Cemal Burak, ed. 2017. States of Discipline: Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the Contested Reproduction of Capitalist Order. Rowman and Littlefield.

Ziadah, Rafeef. 2018. “Transport Infrastructure and Logistics in the Making of Dubai Inc.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Seminars 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 130

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Lama Tawakkol Unit coordinator

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