Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Power, Place and Development
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   100%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   100%

Learning Outcomes

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

Describe the forces shaping and defining political identities and dynamics in a variety of different global settings.

Critically evaluate the role of place in political, geopolitical and development-related issues at different scales of analysis.

Illustrate and explain how different representations and measurement schemes shape understandings of political, geopolitical and development processes.

Brief description

Power, place and development are terms that encapsulate a number of key themes and concerns in contemporary human geography. Place, as we will see, is not presumed to be the location were social events happen. Rather, places are created and developed via an intricate and often complex web of social interactions, many of which are imbued with relations of power. The aim of this module is to illuminate to students how places are social phenomenon (rather than simply points on a map) as well as how places change and develop through a number of overt and covert social struggles. As we introduce concepts such as sovereignty, mobility, security and citizenship, we will examine how they situate taken-for-granted ideas about rights, privilege, the 'proper' and the normative. Through historical and contemporary case studies in the United States, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, we will see how legal frameworks, aid policies and social/cultural norms can produce spatial outcomes that are oppressive, violent and unjust at both the local (e.g., ghettos and shanty towns) and global scale (e.g., the east and the global south). By the time you leave this module you should have a broad understanding of some of some of the key issues currently circulating in the field and you should also have a specific understanding of how power, place and development are intimately connected. As previously suggested, places are developed through social and cultural processes; processes that are necessarily (and unavoidably) imbued with relations of power.


While the content of the module focuses on specific topics, those topics embody a number of broader aims that will foster your learning over the next three years. These aims are the following:

1. To teach students a geographic perspective.
Human geography is a diverse topic that encompasses many sub-fields, including social geography, urban geography, development geography, cultural geography, historical geography, economic geography etc. What makes all these sub-fields similar, however, is their use of what might be called a 'geographic' way of looking at things. Thus, while the emphasis of this module is on political geography, its aim is not to teach political geography over the other sub-fields but to illustrate what a geographic perspective can bring to the study of local and global political dynamics. This course will by its nature cover a lot of sub-fields (including legal geography, economic geography, urban geography and others). The aim, here, however, is not to steep you in the literatures and concerns of each sub-field per se, but (more broadly) to illustrate the unique approach that geography brings to a wide-range of social phenomenon, processes and events.

2. To teach students about the social nature of place
As discusses above, we need to understand places as entities that emerge through social relations transpiring through a number of formal and informal settings. Understanding the connection between power, place and development means coming to see the world's geography not as a map but as a set of social arrangements whose reality is sustained through numerous taken-for-granted ideas, concepts and values. One of the aims of this module is to 'see' these arrangements for what they are, question the ideas they are predicated on and to examine some of the ways they might be changed.

3. To teach students how to apply theoretical ideas and concepts.
This module will introduce a number of theoretical ideas to students and illustrate how those ideas can be applied to concrete social events. Theories about citizenship, sovereignty, development and law abound in the social sciences and geographers draw upon these to help explain the phenomenon and events we examine. Over the next three years you will be gradually expected to also use theoretical ideas to explain the phenomenon you study. This module introduces students to this skill and expects students to attempt this process in the assessment.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Some critical discussion of the politics of statistical measures (for example the most appropriate way to measure 'development') will be included.
Communication The module will develop the students' skills of written communication in completing their written examination. In addition, students will develop their oral communication skills through team-working and class exercises.
Improving own Learning and Performance Student attendance and participation in the lectures will help them to enhance a range of learning skills. The module also requires students to undertake extensive self-directed study.
Information Technology Students will be required to undertake research for the module using bibliographic search-engines and library catalogues.
Personal Development and Career planning The module will help students to develop a range of transferable skills including: making arguments, time management, self-discipline and research planning.
Problem solving The module will develop students' problem-solving skills in a number of ways. Students will be required to analyse a range of sources and texts in class exercises and as part of their independent research, and they will be required to complete small problem-solving exercises during the lectures.
Research skills Students are expected to research and synthesize a range of academic source material in preparing for classes and for their written examination.
Subject Specific Skills The module will enable students to develop and practice subject-specific skills which they have developed in semester one in modules such as 'Key skills in geography'.
Team work The lectures may include class-based problem-solving exercises and discussions which will provide opportunities for students to develop team-working skills and discuss their thoughts with the class.


This module is at CQFW Level 4