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POL2035 : Power and Poverty in the Global Economy

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Mark Langan
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to:

-       This module will introduce students to the study of international development and global financial institutions as an important sub-discipline of International Politics
-       Examine the role of Western donors and the BRICS in the articulation of competing visions of the globalised market economy, with focus on the Washington, Post-Washington and Beijing Consensus(s)
-       Interrogate the agency of governments and civil society movements, particularly those of the Global South, in articulating the need for pro-poor reforms of the globalised market economy.

The module introduces students to the key actors and institutions involved in the construction of the global economy, including the Troika – the International Monetary Fund; World Bank; and World Trade Organisation – as well as the BRICS. It critically assesses power dynamics between the Global North and the Global South in relation to trade and finance, with particular focus on the efficacy of free trade deals for poverty reduction associated with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It additionally interrogates the role of donor aid monies in the construction of globalised free markets, with particular focus on EU aid giving in the context of Africa-EU relations. It examines the impact of such patterns of liberalisation global trade and finance for peace and security within so-called fragile states in developing regions. It also considers the role of developing country governments – and civil society movements –for challenging free market orthodoxies and for pushing for reforms to the global governance of trade and finance in an era of neoliberalism.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module will involve 11 x 2 hour lectures; with a 1hr seminar accompanying each weekly theme. Themes may include:

1.       Introduction to IPE: background and key concepts
2.       Critical approaches to IPE
3.       Globalisation and IPE
4.       Trade Politics and IPE
5.       Aid Regimes and IPE
6.       Environment and IPE
7.       Security and IPE
8.       Gender and IPE
9.       Multinational Corporations and IPE
10.       Africa-EU Relations and IPE
11.       Conclusion / Revision

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials112:0022:00Pre-recorded lecture materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PIP Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1156:00156:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk111:0011:00PIP Student Consultation and Feedback
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The 11 x 2hour lectures will enable students to gain an in-depth knowledge of complex processes within the global economy, and to be able to understand historical trajectories in the construction of global free markets. The 11 x 1hour small group teaching will enable students to consolidate the knowledge gained from lectures and from independent study, and to practise their oral debating skills in the discussion of key controversies associated with North-South power relationships in the globalised economy. The lectures and the small group activities combined will prepare students to complete the summative assignments and to obtain the full Learning Objectives associated with the module, and to demonstrate attainment also of key skills.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M25Critical review of a journal article – students will be offered a selection of relevant articles from which they choose 1 to review.
Essay2M75Students will be given a list of essay questions relevant to the weekly topics covered in the module; 1 Question at 2500 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Oral Presentation2MStudents may be invited by seminar tutors to deliver presentations on weekly themes
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The critical review of a journal article will enable students to demonstrate their attainment of key Learning Objectives associated with knowledge and understanding of key actors within the global governance of trade and finance; and key controversies associated with the benefits of free market systems for countries of the Global South. (Length: 1000 words)

The Essay assessment will allow students to express their ideas and perspectives, with engagement with relevant scholarly literature and primary sources, to interrogate controversies associated with the global governance of trade and finance and North-South power inequalities therein. (length: 2500 words)

Formative oral presentations in seminars may allow students to express their knowledge and understanding of key weekly themes and to gain constructive feedback from their peers and from seminar tutors (approx. 10 mins)

Reading Lists