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Unit information: Europe in Crisis: Global, Regional and Domestic Perspectives in 2015/16

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Unit name Europe in Crisis: Global, Regional and Domestic Perspectives
Unit code SPAI30021
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Cini
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

It is commonplace these days to claim that Europe is in crisis. But what does this really mean? What form does this crisis (or crises) take? Is there one crisis or several? What effects has the crisis had on Europe’s external relations, the European integration project, and on individual countries within the region?

With these questions in mind this course aims to:

  • Problematize the concept of crisis in the context of European politics, economy and society;
  • identify how the crisis (or crises) and its effects can be explained and understood through the lens of (a) Europe’s international relations (with an emphasis on transatlantic relations and EU-China relations, for example); (b) the European Union and the Eurozone (focusing on the nature of the Euro crisis, and the EU’s responses to it); and (c) the domestic politics of member states, including the various responses of countries such as Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece and Hungary.
  • Analyse the causes, nature and impact of the European crisis so as to provide a broad understanding of Europe’s place in the world, and the challenges it faces at home and abroad in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the crisis, or crises in Europe since the mid-2000s. (1)
  • Account for the causes, nature or and impact of the crisis on Europe’s international and regional politics (2)
  • Account for the impact of the crisis on Europe’s domestic politics, economy and society by demonstrating a deep understanding of one or more European countries. (3)
  • Explain the possible implications of the crisis/crises with reference to Europe’s place in the world and its future evolution. (4)

Teaching Information

Lecture and seminar

Assessment Information

2 hour written exam (75%) – assesses all learning objectives (1)-(4).

1500 word essay (25%), focusing on one or more European countries – assesses learning objective (1) and (3) below)

Reading and References

  • P. Burnham (2011), ‘Towards a Political Theory of Crisis: Policy and Resistance across Europe’, New Political Science, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 493-507.
  • J. Carmassi, D. Gros, S. Micossi (2009), ‘The Global Financial Crisis: Causes and Cures’, Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 47, No. 5, pp. 977–996. (19pp)
  • D. Hodson and U. Puetter (2013), 'The Economic Crisis and the European Union' in M. Cini and N. Perez-Solorzano (eds), European Union Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 367-80 (13pp)
  • B. Thorhallsson and P. Kirby (2012), 'Financial Crises in Iceland and Ireland. Does European Union and Euro membership matter?’, Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 50, No. 5, pp. 801-18.
  • B. Young and W. Semmler (2011), 'The European Sovereign Debt Crisis: Is Germany to Blame?' working paper - as published in German Politics and Society, Vol. 29, No 1, pp. 1-24
  • B. Crum (2013), 'Saving the Euro at the Cost of Democracy?', Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 614-30.