BSocSc Politics and International Relations / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Sex, Bodies and Money: Feminist, Queer and Intersectional Political Economy

Course unit fact file
Unit code POLI32091
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This module explores how different feminist, queer and intersectional approaches challenge dominant understandings of the global political economy. The objective is to elucidate what these approaches mean when they call for the need to apply a 'gender lens' to the global political economy, and how this gender lens can be further extended to incorporate questions of sexuality, heteronormativity, race and racism,  
ongoing forms of colonialism, and more. 

The module delves into feminist theories, shows students how to apply feminist critiques of economic practices, and asks them to think about how we might move toward creating a more a more equitable world. There is NO need to have a background in economics or to have previously studied these topics, though some knowledge of feminism and/or GPE will help students engage the material in greater depth.  

The topics covered vary from year to year but may include: domestic labour debates; social reproduction feminism; global care chains; intersectional critiques of macroeconomic policies; gender, race and the Covid crisis; masculinity in finance; the heteronormativity of political economy and 'development'; the 'business case' for gender equality; and feminist, LGTBQ+ and intersectional activist agendas. 


The course unit aims to:

  • introduce students to feminist, queer and intersectional approaches to theorizing the International Political Economy (IPE)
  • familiarize students with the intellectual origins of these approaches and some of the main issues that concern them
  • introduce students to different critical epistemologies and methods for studying IPE
  • provide an overview of some of the trends and contemporary issues that are of interest to scholars with an interest in relations of gender, sexuality, class, race and more 

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 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 critically reflect on the gendered nature of global markets, the gender biases and other that are created and reproduced through the operation of global markets and the new spaces that have emerged for the negotiation of gender, sexual and racial identities in the contemporary era
  • an ability to identify the ways in which macoreconomic policymaking may work to undermine and/or to deepen existing forms of inequality  
  • 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 module begins with an introductory lecture that situates feminist (global) political economy within the broader discipline and offers an overview of some different approaches and methods that these critical theorists use to analyse structures of power in the global political economy. Subsequent weeks then consist of one two-hour interactive lecture and one one-hour seminar/tutorial per week. Students should come to lectures and seminars having completed all of the required reading in advance and having prepared some comments, questions, 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 one short essay of 1,000 words (25%) and a final essay of 3,000 words (75%).   

Feedback methods

As per University guidelines, I 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. 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 the module convenor. 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. 

Bhattacharya, Tithi (ed.) 2017. Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, London: Pluto Press. 

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. 

Peterson, V. Spike. (2015) 'International/Global Political Economy', in L. Shepherd (ed) Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations (2nd ed), London: Routledge, 173-85. 

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

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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