MA Political Economy (Standard Route) / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

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Course unit details:
Critical Environmental Politics

Unit code POLI70921
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will introduce you to the study of environmental politics in the contemporary world. It covers some of the most important challenges facing our societies, including climate change, biodiversity loss, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, and food and water insecurity. It also explores some of the concepts, frameworks and discourses that environmental theorists have used to understand and explain these issues, including political ecology, ecofeminism, biopolitics, the Anthropocene, colonialism, (un)sustainability, risk society, environmental security and others. The central challenges of the course will include exploring the relationship between society and environments/nature in contemporary politics, and the role of individuals, communities, movements, NGOs, elites, corporations, political parties, states and international institutions in responding to the environmental crisis.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to demonstrate:

1.      Understanding of the major approaches to the study of environmental politics

2.      Familiarity with a wide range of cases of environmental issues, and they will be able to apply theoretical approaches to those cases

3. Understanding of the different drivers and responses to environmental crises around the world.

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught on the basis of ten two-hour seminars. Seminars will be structured around student activities, involving group discussions of the set-reading. Students will be required to lead small group discussion on particular topics. The classes will also include some structured delivery of content by the tutors.


The Blackboard site for the course will contain relevant links to further sources and websites. Seminar material will also be posted on the site. Video and online resources will be used in some classes as a basis for discussion and analysis.