BA Politics and Modern History / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Sex, Bodies and Money: Gendering International Political Economy

Unit code POLI32092
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Mainstream approaches to analyzing the international (or global) political economy tend to be based on rational choice theorizing and view markets as objective and utility-maximizing structures, which, when left to expand relatively unobstructed by governments, are capable of improving the well-being of much of the global population and raising standards of living overall. Critical approaches to IPE have done much to challenge mainstream accounts by arguing that the deepening of global markets has heightened inequalities in wealth and power between the rich and the poor as well as between countries in the Global North and the Global South. However, both schools of thought fail to take account of the inherently gendered nature of global markets, the gender biases that are created and reproduced through the operation of global markets, the gendered nature of money and finance, and the new spaces that have emerged for the negotiation of gender identities in the contemporary era of neoliberal globalization.

The purpose of this course is to investigate and critically analyze these and other trends by using a feminist lens to understand the international political economy. A central objective of this course is for students to be comprehend what it means to apply a ‘feminist lens’ to a range of international issues, while also being aware of the differences between several distinct feminist approaches to IPE, including liberal, Marxist/socialist, intersectional, post-colonial and post-structuralist feminisms.

Topics covered include social reproduction and carework, the gendered nature of neoliberal macroeconomic policies, gendered cultures of finance, the feminist critique of microcredit, masculinity and political economy, and more. 



The course unit aims to:

•    introduce students to a range of feminist approaches to theorizing the International Political Economy (IPE)

•    familiarize students with the intellectual origins of feminist IPE and some of the main issues that concern feminist IPE scholars

•    introduce students to feminist epistemologies and methods for studying IPE

•    provide an overview of some of the different trends and topics that are of interest to feminist IPE scholars

Learning outcomes

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

 •    an ability to describe how a feminist lens might be used to critique mainstream and critical approaches to IPE

•    an ability to identify the distinctive characteristics of several different feminist approaches to IPE

 •    an ability to critically reflect on the gendered nature of global markets, the gender biases that are created and reproduced through the operation of global markets and the new spaces that have emerged for the negotiation of gender identities in the contemporary era

•    an ability to think critically about some of the ways in which gender has intersected with class, race, citizenship and sexuality, historically and up to the present

•    an ability to identify an appropriate research question on a topic related to feminist IPE

•    an ability to develop and defend an original argument

•    an ability to present research findings in written form at a 3rd year undergraduate level

Teaching and learning methods

This undergraduate class is divided into 10 2-hour lectures and 10 1-hour seminars. The lectures are designed to give background information to help students understand the readings and to place them in relation to each other and to the broader themes of the course. The seminars are designed to help students understand the specific issues raised in the articles and to give students an opportunity to develop and exchange their own views on the theories and topics. Students should come to the seminars having completed all of the required reading in advance and having prepared some comments and/or critiques of the readings. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

A degree in politics and international relations gives you many useful transferable skills including: 

  • the ability to research, source and examine information thoroughly; 
  • the ability to critically analyse evidence and construct coherent arguments; 
  • excellent written and oratory skills; 
  • intellectual independence and autonomy; 
  • team working skills; 
  • a flexible and open-minded approach to work. 

Examples of the types of jobs a Politics and IR degree might be relevant for can be found here:

Additional support can be found here:

Details of how Manchester Politics graduates do can be found here:

This specific module can be useful for students wishing to develop and demonstrate skills that can be applied in a wide range of different jobs, voluntary roles and work placements. For instance, previous students have gone on to take up jobs in think tanks, not-for-profit organizations, and the civil service. They have also taken up jobs in teaching, banking/finance and many, many others.  

Assessment methods

Assessment for the course is based on:

essay of 4,200 words to be submitted at the end of the term (60%),

seminar portfolio that will come to approximately 2,000 words in total (30%) 

seminar participation (10%). 

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

Bakker, Isabella, ed. The Strategic Silence: Gender and Economic Policy. Ottawa: Zed Books, 1994.

Bedford, Kate, and Shirin M. Rai. "Feminists Theorize International Political Economy." Special issue of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 36 (1) (2010).

Bezanson, Kate, and Meg Luxton, eds.Social Reproduction: Feminist Political Economy Challenges Neo-Liberalism. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2006.

Brooke Ackerly and Jacqui True (2013), ‘Methods and Methodologies’ in Georgina Waylen, Karen Celis, Johanna Kantola and S. Laurel Weldon (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 135-59. 

Cohen, Marjorie Griffin, and Janine Brodie, eds. Remapping Gender in the New Global Order. London and New York: Routledge, 2007.

Elias, Juanita and Adrienne Roberts, eds. A Feminist Global Political Economy of the Everyday, Special Issue of Globalizations, Available Online, 2016.

Elias, Juanita and Adrienne Roberts, eds. Handbook on the International Political Economy of Gender, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2018.

Ferber, Marianne A., and Julie A. Nelson, eds. Feminist Economics Today: Beyond Economic Man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

Gutierrez, Martha (ed) (2003), Macro-Economics: making gender matter,London: Zed Books. 

Hozic, Aida, and Jacqui True, eds. Scandalous Economics: Gender and the Politics of Financial Crises. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Marchand, Marianne, and Anne Sisson Runyan, eds. Gender and Global Restructuring: Sightings, Sites and Resistances. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

Mies, Maria. Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour. New York; London: Zed Books, 1998.

Nelson, Julie A. Feminism, Objectivity, and Economics. Routledge, 1996.

Peterson, V. Spike. A Critical Rewriting of Global Political Economy: Integrating Reproductive, Productive, and Virtual Economies. London: Routledge, 2003.

Rai, Shirin M. and Georgina Waylen (eds) (2014), New Frontiers in Feminist Political Economy,London: Routledge.

Steans, Jill. Gender and International Relations: Issues, Debates, Future Directions.Cambridge: Polity Press. 2006.

Young, Brigitte, Isabella Bakker, and Diane Elson, eds. Questioning Financial Governance from a Feminist Perspective. London, New York: Routledge, 2011.

Study hours

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

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Adrienne Roberts Unit coordinator

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