Module Identifier IP35820  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator To Be Arranged  
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.

Module Skills

Problem_solving The preparation of essays will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills.  
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of a student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for seminar presentation will enable development of independent project skill  
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these.  
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and importance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their initiative, including searching for sources.  
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.  
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 (such as BIDS and OCLC).  
Application of Number Students will be expected to make effective us of statistical data. Lectures will introduce students to types and sources of statistical data, and students will be required to use, analyse and interrogate such data in seminars, essays and exams, where appropriate.  
Personal Development and Career planning The discussion in particular will help develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of projects, honing and developing projects and seeing through to completion will contribute to transferable skills.  
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. These include, collect and understand a wide range of data; ability to evaluate competing perspectives.  

Reading Lists

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


This module is at CQFW Level 6