BSc Management (International Business Economics) with Industrial/Professional Experience / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
American Society and Economy

Course unit fact file
Unit code BMAN20610
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


Semester one covers the historical background to US economy and society, featuring issues such as: US political structure; history of the colonies; Civil War and slavery; the Civil Rights movement; gender relations in US; and the development of the modern US corporation. Semester two covers contemporary trends in US economy and society, including discussions of an increasingly partisan and dysfunctional Congress, labour market changes; the rise of inequality and urban poverty; the ‘War on Drugs’, organizational restructuring of the modern corporation; historical and contemporary foreign policy developments; the rise of ‘counter knowledge’, ‘post-truth’ and conspiracy theories; and current debate around ethics in business and ethics in business schools.


Core for IMABS. Option for Mgt/Mgt Specialism & IM.

Core for IMABS. Option for Mgt/Mgt Specialism & IM.


The purpose of this course is twofold: Firstly it aims to introduce students to the historical fundamentals of American society, based on broad historical, cultural, political and economic perspectives. Secondly, the course aims to provide an overview of contemporary trends in US economy and society, taking a similarly broad approach.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, students should be able to understand the roots and dimensions of American history, culture, and ‘way of life’, the fundaments of the US political and economic system, and be able to understand and interpret ongoing socio-economic developments. Students should be able to develop a critical and informed position on several important contemporary debates, such as equal opportunities and affirmative action, attempts to tackle poverty, crime and social deprivation, the contours of US foreign policy, the restructuring of US firms and employment, and debates around the ethical and moral value or US business school education.

Teaching and learning methods

Methods of delivery - 2 hour lecture slot which includes one hour lecture followed by a multi-format workshop structure containing discussion questions, workshop tasks, and film viewings.

Total study hours: 200 hours split between lectures, classes, self study and preparation for classes, coursework and examinations.

Informal Contact Methods
1. Office Hours
2. Online Learning Activities (discussion area on blackboard)
3. E-mail contact.

Assessment methods

20% choice of a review of a song or a research interview 

30% individual essay.

50% film critique 


Feedback methods

Generic feedback will be given on second semester exam performance. Detailed individual feedback on the first semester essays will be given to each student. Informal feedback about contribution in class will be ongoing, and informal feedback will also briefly be provided after each group presentation in the seminars.

Students can arrange individual meetings with Dr Benson if they wish to further discuss any element of the course, including feedback.


Recommended reading

Foner, E. (2017) Give me Liberty! New York: WW Norton

Singh, R., (2003) Governing America: The Politics of a Divided Democracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Sitkoff, H., (2001) Perspectives on Modern America: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Lectures and some key readings will be made available on blackboard.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 22
Seminars 22
Independent study hours
Independent study 154

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Lawrence Benson Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Other staff involved: TBA

Pre-requisites: None

Co-requisites: None

Dependent courses: N/A

Programme Restrictions: core for IMABS. Option for IM and Management.

For Academic Year 2023/24

Updated: March 2023

Approved by: March UG Committee



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