Postgraduate Modules: POL612 - The Political Economy of Globalisation

Module Code

POL 612

Module Title

The Political Economy of Globalisation






30 credits

Taught by:

Dr. Burak Tansel

Module Description:

In recent years globalisation has commanded the increasing attention of publics, policy-makers and academics alike, becoming an integral part of the academic, political, economic and lay vernacular. Unremarkably, it has generated a vast and diverse literature. The purpose of this module is to offer an advanced level of understanding of this literature and the attendant issues it raises. Students will unpack this substantial body of theory, research and empirical evidence to assess: (i) the extent (if any) of the break that ‘globalisation’ marks with the past; (ii) the distinct and often contradictory processes that interact to produce the effects referred to as ‘globalisation’; (iii) the degree to which the parameters of the politically and economically possible have been reconfigured by such processes; (iv) the social foundations and consequences of the various processes which constitute ‘globalisation’; (v) the possibilities for effective and democratic global governance in this context; and (vi) the extent to which the shifting global economic geography and the global financial crisis require us to reconsider our answers to these questions.

The course begins with a general introduction to our understandings of globalisation, reviewing the literature on and evidence for economic globalisation, the principal processes encompassed by the term, and the politics and ideologies which both underpin it and are shaped by it. We then move on to consider some of the key dimensions of globalisation, focusing on questions of competitiveness, development, inequalities, migration, ‘illicit’ processes relating to transnational crime and the ‘underbelly of globalisation’, and global governance. Three themes are central to the course: the social dynamics of globalisation; the extent to which globalisation can be held accountable democratically; and the twin implications of changing structures of economic power and the global financial crisis.

Module Aims:

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate independent and critical understanding of the most important aspects of globalisation
  • Show awareness of the relationship between theory and practice in relation to the international/comparative political economy literatures
  • Fully identify the strengths and weaknesses of different theoretical approaches to the study of globalisation and assess critically the competing claims that are made regarding the impact of economic integration on a range of countries
  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, including understanding complex concepts and theories, exercising critical judgement and using a range of problem-solving techniques; making effective oral contributions and written presentations, utilising specialist primary and secondary sources, and deepening the capacity for independent learning
  • Write scholarly and grammatically correct essays that are referenced in accordance with established academic practice.

Module Schedule:

1 Introduction: What is globalisation?
2 Economic globalisation I: Finance
3 Economic globalisation II: Production and Trade
4 Ideologies and politics of globalisation
5 Globalisation, national economies and nation-states
6 Globalisation and/or regionalisation
7 Globalisation and competitiveness
8 Globalisation, development and inequalities
9 Globalisation and migration
10 Globalisation and the ‘illicit’ economy
11 Globalisation and the future of global governance
12 A crisis of globalisation?

Teaching Methods:

  • 12 * 2 hour lectures


  • Essay 1 (2,500 words) - 40% of mark
  • Essay 2 (3,500 words) - 60% of mark

Resources Available:

  • Individual feedback and guidance sessions with module tutors.
  • Detailed module handbook
  • Dedicated module site on MOLE2.
  • Extensive library materials, including a wide variety of electronic and digitised resources.
  • Opportunity to attend seminars held by the interdisciplinary Global Justice Research Centre

Indicative Reading:

Bhagwati, J. (2004) In Defense of Globalization. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dicken, P. (2010) Global Shift. 6th Edition. New York: Guilford

Hay, C. & Marsh, D. (eds.) (2001) Demystifying Globalisation. London: Palgrave.

Held, D. & McGrew, A. (2007) Globalisation/Anti-Globalisation. Cambridge: Polity.

Held, D. & McGrew, A. (eds.) (2002) Governing Globalisation. Cambridge: Polity.

Held, D. & McGrew, A. (eds.) (2007) Globalisation Theory: Approaches and Controversies. Cambridge: Polity.

Held, D., McGrew, A. Goldblatt, D. and Perraton, J. (1999) Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture. Cambridge: Polity.

Hirst, P., Thompson, G. & Bromley, S. (2009) Globalisation in Question. Third Edition. Cambridge:Polity.

Kitching, G. (2001) Seeking Social Justice Through Globalization: Escaping a Nationalist Perspective. University Park: Penn State University Press.

Mittelman, J.H. (2000) The Globalization Syndrome. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Ravenhill, J. (ed.) (2011) Global Political Economy. 3rd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rodrik, D. (2011) The Globalisation Paradox. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scholte, J. A. (2005) Globalisation: An Introduction. 2nd Edition. London: Palgrave

Smith, N. (2005) The Endgame of Globalization. London: Routledge.

Steger, M. (2009) Globalisation: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Stiglitz, J. (2006) Making Globalization Work. London: Norton.

Strange, S. (1988) States and Markets: An Introduction to International Political Economy. London: Pinter.

Stubbs, R. and G. R. D. Underhill (eds.) (2005) Political Economy and the Changing Global Order. 2nd Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Waters, M. (2001) Globalisation. Second Edition. London: Routledge.

Wolf, M. (2005) Why Globalization Works. London: Yale University Press.