Masters Modules.

Capitalism and Crisis.

The 2008 financial crisis undermined nearly two decades of relatively stable economic growth across the capitalist world. The banking system came close to collapse, government deficits rapidly increased and the politics of austerity was unleashed across the advanced economies. We continue to experience the fall-out from the crash today.

This module examines the deeper origins of and the fall-out from the 2008 crisis. Drawing on the tradition of political economy, the module begins by unpacking the core concepts of the course: capitalism, crisis and the state. It then presents a brief historical overview of previous economic crises in the 1930s and 1970s in order to provide some necessary context and comparison points. Building on this, the module then surveys competing explanations of the origins of the 2008 crisis, examining the role which lax financial regulation, inequality, global imbalances and flawed economic ideas played in generating the crisis. The module then examines the fallout from the 2008 crisis, interrogating the extent to which the crisis was truly global in nature as well as examining the variety of political responses to the crash.


This module is typically taught through a weekly programme of lectures and seminars over the semester.


The module is typically assessed through two pieces of individual coursework.

As part of this module, the Department of Politics has teamed up with the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI) in order to deliver a 'Guest Speaker' series. Each semester, external speakers - such as journalists, policymakers, and actors from non-governmental organisations and think tanks - are invited to speak to the core themes of the course. These external speakers complement the content of the lectures and seminars and provide an opportunity for students to engage with professionals engaged in pressing contemporary issues in the economic policymaking world.