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Unit information: Governance, Institutions and the Global Political Economy in 2021/22

Unit name Governance, Institutions and the Global Political Economy
Unit code SPOLM1073
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Lendvai-Bainton
Open unit status Not open




School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit explores some of the key debates in relation to globalisation, governance and the global political economy. It will consider the implications of the changing global political economy for the integrity and autonomy of the nation state and the policy process. As international activity increases does the nation state lose influence or authority? To what extent is power dissipating both upwards (via supranational organisations) and downwards (via decentralisation) and thus ‘hollowing out’ the nation state? This unit will explore these debates paying particular attention to the variable geometry of power among nation states; the tension between ‘geographical space’ and the space of financial flows and global networks; the relationship between supranational and national institutions in the setting of policy agenda: the role and status of international non-governmental organisations and new social movements within international and global policy making; and discourses, theories and policy frameworks for less-developed countries.

The unit will consider the range of approaches to understanding the new institutional structure and patterns of decision-making emerging in this global age. It will focus on the concept of `governance’, consider the various interpretations of and theoretical approaches to the term, and its usefulness for understanding the policy process.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On completion of this unit a student should:

  • Understand the key processes in global political economic transformation
  • Understand the implications of globalisation for the policy process at national and international levels.
  • Have knowledge of the range of actors and different spatial scales involved in the policy process.
  • Be familiar with the theoretical and conceptual debates concerning governance and public policy
  • Be able to identify policy modes and patterns of decision making in public policy.

Teaching Information

This unit will be delivered through blended learning involving a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including weekly narrated power presentations, practical activities supported by study-group sessions and self-directed individual and peer-to-peer exercises to develop and deepen knowledge and understanding.

Assessment Information

Students will complete two formative assignments for this unit. 1) thematic annotated bibliography (1,500 words) (30%) and 2) Policy Brief (2,500 words) (70%)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOLM1073).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.