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Unit information: International Political Economy in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name International Political Economy
Unit code POLIM3015
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. King
Open unit status Not open




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


This unit deals with the interaction between international politics and the world economy that is the core concern of International Political Economy (IPE). It begins by examining a variety of theoretical approaches to IPE. Students are given an opportunity to use them as conceptual tools with which to articulate a critical treatment of the architecture of the changing economic order. In particular the trend toward regionalisation and globalisation of the already existing international system is considered alongside its implications for the changing international order. This unit also highlights the current dilemma faced by the so-called LDCs (Less Developed Countries). Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the abandonment of non-market orientated growth strategies, much of the post-colonial world is now adopting free market, liberalisation strategies, yet there remains significant evidence to suggest that LDCs have yet to reap the benefits held out to them by institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank. This unit is only available to students registered for MSc/Diploma degrees in the Department of Politics. Please note that the Department does not permit the auditing of any of its units.

This unit aims to:

  • To become familiar with issues that arise from the interaction of international economic and political structures
  • To provide an introduction to several conceptual approaches to international political economy
  • To assess the significance of recent changes in the global economy
  • To facilitate a critical treatment of leading issues in international political economy.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit the student should have:

  • An understanding of the basis on which organisations, companies and national states interact with international markets
  • An ability to offer a conceptually coherent critique of normative arguments for re–structuring and governing the international economy
  • Knowledge of some of the contemporary history of changes in the international economy
  • An ability to integrate empirical evidence into conceptually grounded arguments

Teaching details

The following teaching methods will be used:

  • Discussion and group work
  • Seminar presentation
  • Brief lectures
  • Essay writing
  • Independent research

Assessment Details

Formative assessment: an oral presentation supported by a handout Summative assessment: a 3,500 to 4,000 word essay

A full statement of the relationship between the programme outcomes and types/methods of assessment is contained in accompanying Programme Specifications and section B7 of the Major Change to Current Programme forms for the programmes of which this unit is a part. The assessment for each unit is designed to fit within and contribute to that approach in terms of intellectual development across each of the two teaching blocks, and in relation to knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills and attributes, and transferable skills.

Reading and References

  • Balaam, D. & Veseth, B. Introduction to International Political Economy, (2nd edition), Prentice Hall, 2000
  • Bromley, S. & Mackintosh, M. & Brown, W. & Wuyts, M. (eds), Making the International:

Economic Interdependence and Political Order, Pluto Press, 2003

  • Friedman, T The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, Harper Collins, 2000
  • Gilpin, R. Global Political Economy: Understanding the International Economic Order, Princeton, 2001
  • Stiglitz, E. Globalization and its Discontents, Penguin, 2002
  • Stubbs & Underhill, Political Economy and the Changing Global Order, (2nd Edition), Oxford University Press, 2000