Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Knowledge, Science, and Technology in World Politics
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 14 1-hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 7 1-hour seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 2,500 word essay  40%
Semester Assessment 3,000 word essay  50%
Semester Assessment seminar assessment  10%
Supplementary Assessment 2,000 word essay  40%
Supplementary Assessment 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1x1000 word seminar reading summary  10%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate an understanding of the basic concepts of the sociological study of science and technology.

Demonstrate a critical understanding of how knowledge, science, and technology relate to the international in both theoretical and empirical terms.

Critically reflect on how the production, diffusion, and uses of science and technology affect state power, inter-state relations, and the power of non-state actors on the international scene.

Critically reflect on the relation between the material and normative frameworks that govern the production and consumption of scientific and technological knowledge at the global level.

Conduct theoretical and empirical research on key issues covered in the module.


Week 1: Introduction: International Relations Meets Science and Technology Studies: Theoretical and Empirical Perspectives (2 lectures, 1 seminar)
Week 2: Knowledge, Science, and Technology in the History of World Affairs: Global Processes of Production, Diffusion, and Use (2 lectures, 1 seminar)
Week 3: Science, Technology and Global Asymmetries of Power and Development in the Contemporary World (2 lectures, 1 seminar)
Week 4: Scientific and Technological Advantage: State Power and Inter-State Relations (2 lectures, 1 seminar)
Week 5: The Rise of Non-State Actors: Political Groups and Industries (2 lectures, 1 seminar)
Week 6: International Law and the Global Regulation of Knowledge-Production and Consumption (2 lectures, 1 seminar)
Week 7: Is Knowledge a Public Good? Neoliberalism, the Social Management of Knowledge, and the Future of the University (2 lectures, 1 seminar)


The module aims to provide students with a focused and critical understanding of the role of science and technology in world politics, and to introduce them to interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary studies on the global processes of knowledge production, diffusion, and consumption, that complement research carried out within the discipline of International Relations. Additionally, the material covered will combine theoretical, empirical, and normative perspectives so as to allow students to develop a range of intellectual skills and efficiently use their knowledge to address issues of a conceptual and ethical nature.

Brief description

This module offers an interdisciplinary perspective on the global production, diffusion, and use of science and technology, and their impact on contemporary world politics. Starting with an historical overview of how scientific knowledge and technical know-how have affected the evolution and relations of societies in the past, the module addresses contemporary developments by focusing on three important dimensions: 1) the global asymmetries of power and development that are directly or indirectly related to the unequal access and transmission of science and technology in the world; 2) the material advantages, threats, and conflicts that result from the monopoly or diffusion of science and technology among states and non-state actors; 3) the nature and impact of the international legal and economic frameworks that regulate the global production, transmission, and consumption of specialized knowledges. The module ends with a reflection on how the social management of knowledge can help us face current and future challenges at the global level.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number
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 6