BA Geography with International Study

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Economic Geography: Understanding the economy. creating economic spaces

Course unit fact file
Unit code GEOG20101
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Explaining and tackling uneven socio-economic development is an important item on the agenda in social sciences and politics alike. In an era of globalisation, the regional and national prospects of welfare and growth are continuously contested. This lecture course will provide an overview of economic-geographical key theories and concepts in analysing economic processes at various geographical scales. To this end, the relationships between space, economy and society will be discussed in depth, including dynamic theories of location and development, the social construction of production systems, the role of proximity in organising economic processes, and the scalar connections of economic activities that shape today’s world and regional economies.

The lecture course will address the following main issues:

  • Theoretical foundations and key concepts in economic geography
  • Economy and Society: culture, power, and embeddedness
  • Spaces and scales of economic development: innovation, production and consumption
  • Towards the archipelago economy? Prospects for development


  • introduce you to some key theoretical concepts used in economic geography
  • show how economic activities and their spatial configurations are socially and culturally grounded
  • demonstrate how today’s economies has developed and is organised in different places and across different scales

Learning outcomes




• Week 1: Introduction to the subject; approaches to studying socio-economic disparities in the capitalist economy
• Week 2: Regional worlds of production? Theorizing regional economic development
• Week 3: Economy as instituted process: Markets, regulation and governance
• Week 4: Economy as social and cultural process I: On actors and networks
• Week 5: Economy as social and cultural process II: Ethnic economies and the role of culture
• Week 6: Study week – no classes
• Week 7: The spatialities of labour: What place for workers?
• Week 8: Money flows like mercury: Geographies of finance
• Week 9: Study week – no classes
• Week 10: Linking production and consumption: commodity chains and production networks


Teaching and learning methods

The course unit will be delivered via weekly two-hour interactive lecture sessions including discussions and exercises. The lecture sessions will be supported by weekly one-hour seminars. A high level of student participation will be required from all students throughout the course. Reading prior to the lectures is required and additional reading around the themes of the lectures is expected.

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:
• extensive verbal feedback through Q&A, discussion and interactive activities within lectures and seminars;
• verbal feedback on any course unit issue through consultation hours;
• verbal feedback on exam performance through personal tutorials;
• detailed written feedback on the coursework assignment


The course is supported by a dedicated Blackboard site. This offers a repository of the lecture notes used in class, a course syllabus, a course-specific chat room and discussion forum.

Knowledge and understanding

  • explain economic structures and their spatial organisation from different theoretical angles
  • understand the social and cultural foundations that shape economic action in space
  • critically evaluate the prospects of regional economic development in an era of globalisation

Intellectual skills

  • Critical thinking, reflection and self-awareness
  • An ability to assess the merits of contrasting theories, explanations and their policy and development implications

Practical skills

  • Taking responsibility for self-directed learning
  • Information handling and analytical skills, utilising materials from a variety of sources

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Critical analysis
  • Independent learning


Assessment methods

Formative Assessment Task                                    How and when feedback is provided

Q&A, discussion and interactive activities               Verbal feedback in the sessions
within lectures and seminars, some designed 
to support coursework and exam

Assessment task             Length                  How and when feedback is provided         Weighting

Coursework                    2,500 words                   Written feedback before the end                 50%
                                                                              of the Semester

Open book exam,          750 words per                 Written comments on exam answers          50%
answering 2                   answer maximum            available at start of the following
questions from 6            =1500 total                      Semester.

Recommended reading

Books (Week by week essential and recommended book chapters and journal articles will be provided)

  • Barnes, T.J., J. Peck and E. Sheppard (eds) (2012) The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Barnes, T.J., J. Peck, E. Sheppard and A. Tickell (eds) (2004) Reading Economic Geography Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Bryson, J., N. Henry, D. Keeble and R. Martin (eds) (1999) The Economic Geography Reader. Chichester: John Wiley.
  • Coe, N., P. Kelly and H.W.-c. Yeung (2019): Economic Geography. A Contemporary Introduction. 3rd Edition. Malden and Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. (Essential Reading)
  • Hall, S. (2018): Global Finance. London: Sage.
  • Hudson, R. (2005): Economic Geographies. London: Sage.
  • Mackinnon, D. and A. Cumbers (2011) Introduction to Economic Geography. Globalization, Uneven Development and Place. 2nd edition. Edinburgh: Pearson. (Highly recommended)
  • Lee, R., J. Wills (eds) (1997): Geographies of Economies. London: Arnold.
  • Mansvelt, J. (2005): Geographies of Consumption. London: Sage.
  • Pike, A., A. Rodrigues-Pose and J. Tomaney (eds) (2011) Handbook of Local and Regional Development. London, Routledge.
  • Wood, A. and Roberts, S. (2011) Economic Geography. Places, Networks and Flows. London and New York: Routledge.       

Key Journals

  • Economic Geography
  • Journal of Economic Geography
  • Progress in Human Geography
  • Environment & Planning A
  • Transactions of the Institue of British Geographers
  • Urban Studies

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 24
Seminars 12
Independent study hours
Independent study 164

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Martin Hess Unit coordinator

Additional notes



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