Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Global Inequalities
Academic Year
Semester 2

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 Hours (18 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours (8 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 Hours)  60%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 Hours)  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Acquire a deeper understanding of the forms and patterns of global inequalities.
2. Identify the historical foundations of the global economic and social order.
3. Critically examine the relevant theoretical literature on global inequalities.
4. Assess the validity and limitations of competing explanations of the phenomena.
5. Understand the major obstacles to the elimination of exclusionary global structures.
6. Situate the major determinants of the new global divide between the haves and the have-nots.
7. Examine the ethical and moral dimensions of global inequalities.
8. Explore new proposals for fighting global poverty and inequality.
9. Discuss the implications of the global transformations in the constellation of economic and political power..


The module strengthens the teaching programme of the Department by offering a close scrutiny of old and new forms of global inequalities, a crucial area of academic inquiry within the broad field of International Politics. The module will make an important contribution to the teaching clusters in the areas of international political economy, International History, and International Relations & the Third World. The module will advance understanding of the historical and structural determinants of global inequalities from an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspective. The module will draw upon a diversity of theoretical literatures in International Relations, Global History, Cultural Studies, and International Political Economy to provide context and understanding of some of the most enduring problems in world politics with major social, political, and environmental implications.


1. Introduction: What is global inequality?
2. Old and New Patterns
3. Competing Explanations
4. Natural Determination
5. Race and Culture
6. Colonialism and Its Legacy
7. Poverty and Global Politics
8. Neoliberal Imaginaries
9. Disaster and Reconstruction
10. Market and Morality
11. The Price of Inequality
12. Gender and Global Inequalities
13. Culture of Narcissism
14. Slow Violence
15. The Anthropocene
16. Resistance
17. Challenge and Prospect
18. Conclusion

Brief description

The module explores the historical and structural dimensions of old and new forms of global inequalities. Cross- and transdisciplinary in scope, the exploration situates global inequality (in its various permutations) as a constituent element of international relations. Based on sustained and critical engagement with competing theoretical explanations (particularly, natural, biological, and cultural determination), the module investigates the spatio-temporal formation and transformation of exclusionary political, social, and cultures structures worldwide. The module examines the impact and legacy of colonialism; the nexus between development and inequality; emergent patterns of inequality under neoliberal restructuring; and the durable effects of materialist civilization on the environment. In probing the various facets of global inequality, the module illuminates the logic that permeates the ascendancy of the market on a global scale and critically interrogates its ethical and moral aspects. The module also examines recent proposals to rethink the problem of global poverty. Finally, the module scrutinizes the political implications of recognizable shifts in global economic and political power, including the emergence of new zones of exclusion and inclusion.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems.
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. For many of the topics of this module, seminars will consist of small-group discussions where students will be asked to discuss as a group the core issues related to the seminar topic. These class discussions and debates form a significant part of the module, and will allow students to approach and examine a given topic through team work.


This module is at CQFW Level 4