Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Middle Powers in the Global Political Economy
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Semester Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Essay  2000 Words  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

Discuss in detail the key theories on the role of middle powers in international politics

Analyse in detail the key ideas and interests that shape the diplomacy of middle powers in the global economy

Identify and analyse key similarities and differences in the diplomacy of Western and Southern middle powers

Critically ealuate the ability of middle powers to resolve global challenges

Brief description

The module covers key developments in international politics related to the diplomacy of middle powers, including both Western and Southern middle powers. The module examines how such states have supported economic globalisation in order to benefit from open markets and enhance their influence in global economic governance. The module also notes how middle powers have engaged with processes that undermine globalisation, such as regionalism, bilateral trade agreements and coalition-building with like-minded states. The module overall highlights the ambivalent roles of middle powers in the face of current economic challenges caused by climate change, US-China trade wars, COVID-19, and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It shows that middle powers can potentially stabilise the international economic order at times of economic crises, but at the same time they remain divided along North/South lines and struggle to constrain the unilateralism of major economies.


The module covers two key areas:

(i) Theories on the diplomacy of Western and Southern middle powers. These include major IR approaches like neorealism and neoliberal institutionalism, as well as theoretical approaches to internationalism, multilateralism, regionalism and good international citizenship.

(ii) Case studies of middle power diplomacy. The module will select cases from both the Western world and the global South. Possible cases to be covered in the module include Germany, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, as well as other examples that will be covered throughout the module. Case studies of economic agreements will also be covered.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Communication Students will learn how to communicate their ideas verbally and in writing, and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will develop skills in using the many sources of information available 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.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students will be required to undertake independent research in order to complete the assessed work for this module. This will involve utilizing a range of information sources, including core academic texts, journal articles, electronic publications, and online news sources.
Information Technology Students will enhance their digital proficiency using Blackboard, where materials to support learning will be made available. Students will also develop skills in searching for, and assessing the validity of, online information sources as part of preparation for lectures, workshops and assessed tasks. Assessed work will be presented in electronic format, according to standard expectations.
Problem solving Creative problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay and preparation for workshop discussions 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; consider similar cases; and look for patterns.
Research skills The module aims to promote critical and analytical thinking within a context in which support and assistance is available from the module convenor and other students. 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 how to answer assessed essay questions.
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. • Apply a range of methodologies to contemporary political problems.


This module is at CQFW Level 6