Module Identifier IP35820  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Jan E Selby  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Lecture   18 Hours 18 x 1 hour  
  Seminars / Tutorials   5 Hours 5 x 1 hour  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  70%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 2,000 word  30%

Learning outcomes

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

1. Discuss the historical origins of capitalism
2. Describe, analyse and evaluate the main theoretical perspectives on political economy
3. Describe, analyse and evaluate the main theoretical perspectives on imperialism
4. Discuss the contested relationships between capitalism and imperialism
5. Identify and explain historical developments and transformations in world capitalism
6. Compare classical and contemporary forms of imperialism
7. Demonstrate, through written work and in seminars, an ability to apply theoretical perspectives on capitalism and imperialism to contemporary issues in global political economy and international relations
8. Identify and engage with contrasting normative perspectives on capitalism and imperialism

Brief description

This module aims to provide students with a broad understanding both of the historical development and contemporary character of capitalism and imperialism, and of contending (especially liberal, Marxian and post-structuralist) theoretical approaches to capitalist and imperialist development.


The origins and nature of capitalism: liberal, mercantilist, Weberian and Marxian perspectives. Issues in the analysis of capitalism: individuals and classes, states and markets, monopoloy and choice, commodification.
Classical European imperialism: geopolitics, representations, and the expansion of capitalism.
Contemporary global capitalism:   North-South relations, capitalism in the periphery, competition and coordination in contemporary inter-capitalist relations, global capitalism and the transformation of the capitalist state.
Case studies in contemporary global capitalism: the global political economy of finance, oil and the environment.
The 'new imperialism': contending perspectives.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Susan Strange (1994) States and Markets Pinter Press
Robert Cox (1995) Approaches to World Order Cambridge
Kees Van der Pijl (1998) Transnational Classes and International Relations Routledge


This module is at CQFW Level 6