POLIS 2130 - International Political Economy

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2015

International political economy has traditionally brought together the study of the international economy with that of national and international politics in an effort to shed light over their mutual influences. More recently, scholars in the field have recognized that the reality of international economic relations is also culturally mediated and socially constructed. To understand how economic structures and political institutions interact with each other, it is therefore necessary to factor culture in. This course will explore how these three spheres the economy, politics, and culture interact with one another in a broad spectrum of areas, such as the political economy of international trade; the political economy of money and central banking; the political economy of international finance; the political economy of global financial crises; the political economy of multinational corporations; and illegal international political economy. These issues will be explored at both the conceptual and policy levels to give students a solid theoretical and empirical grounding in the study of the global economy. The course will enable students to gain a better understanding of very topical issues that range from the origin and evolution of the recent global financial crisis; the process of European monetary unification, the birth of the euro, the ongoing euro-debt crisis and the prospect of disintegration of the eurozone; the rise and global diffusion of central bank independence, the emergence and development of global standards on business and human rights and their influence on the business practices of multinational corporations in a variety of industries, including oil, gas, and mining.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code POLIS 2130
    Course International Political Economy
    Coordinating Unit Politics and International Relations
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites At least 12 units of Arts courses or equivalent
    Incompatible POLI 2130
    Assessment Online test (15%), short answer test (25%), 2500 word research essay (45%), tutorial attendance and participation (15%)
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Timothy Doyle

    Phone: 08 8313 4489 Email: timothy.doyle@adelaide.edu.au

    Campus: North Terrace Room: Napier Building, room 509

    Communication: Arrange appointments via email (weekdays only)
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    After successfully completing this course students should:

    1. have gained an understanding of the range of perspectives on international political economy issues;

    2. be able to identify and explain the political dimensions of economic issues, while understanding the particular historical, cultural and social contexts in which they arise;

    3. be able to apply theoretical tools in the analysis of issues of political economy;

    4. be able to identify and formulate effective arguments; and

    5. have increased confidence in their ability to communicate, to think critically, and to participate as a member of a group.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Knowledge and understanding of the content and techniques of a chosen discipline at advanced levels that are internationally recognised. 1, 2, 3
    The ability to locate, analyse, evaluate and synthesise information from a wide variety of sources in a planned and timely manner. 2, 3, 4
    An ability to apply effective, creative and innovative solutions, both independently and cooperatively, to current and future problems. 2, 3, 4, 5
    Skills of a high order in interpersonal understanding, teamwork and communication. 5
    A proficiency in the appropriate use of contemporary technologies. 5
    A commitment to continuous learning and the capacity to maintain intellectual curiosity throughout life. 1, 2, 3, 5
    A commitment to the highest standards of professional endeavour and the ability to take a leadership role in the community. 5
    An awareness of ethical, social and cultural issues within a global context and their importance in the exercise of professional skills and responsibilities. 2, 5
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    The following textbook is essential. It will be used for the course’s entirety and be used in preparation for the class tests.

    Robert O’Brien and Marc Williams, Global Political Economy, Fourth Edition, London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

    Other readings (to be uploaded to MyUni) will also be essential reading in preparation for the tests.
    Recommended Resources

    There is a very useful overview of political-economy related websites published in:

    Abhijit Sharma and Richard Woodward, ‘Political Economy Websites: A researcher’s Guide’, New Political Economy, 6(1), 2001, 119-130.
    Online Learning
    Additional course-related material is available through MyUni.

    The following documents will be available via MyUni:
    Lecture Content, Course Profile, Explanation of Assessment Tasks, additional readings.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The division of the course into three parts seeks to provide a balance of theoretical and empirical material. This material will be predominantly delivered through lecture-style presentations, as it is information intensive, reflecting the established research interests of the co-ordinator. Smaller group teaching will take place in the tutorials. Like all courses in the Politics Discipline, the teacher promotes the development of critical and analytic skills, and is built upon the need for students to communicate their ideas in both written essays, and through oral expression in these smaller tutorial groups. Apart from student presentations, these group sessions will be used to address teaching and learning problems/issues, which will potentially arise during the course; as well as providing an opportunity to relate the lecture material with international political economy issues as they emerge in the media.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    Lecture attendance: 24 hours (2 per week)
    Tutorial attendance: 10 hours (1 per week)
    Tutorial preparation: 30 hours (3 per week)

    Assignments: 80 hours
          Class test: 24 hours
          Presentation: 16 hours
          Major essay: 40 hours

    Total: 144 hours (12 hours per week)
    Learning Activities Summary
    1. Welcome, logistics and outline of course. 
    2. What is International Political Economy? Basic Concepts and Theoretical Perspectives
    3. Forging a World Economy
    4. Industrial Revolution, Pax Britannica and Free Trade
    5. The End of the Old Order
    6. Multiple choice test one –part one- in class (15%)

    7. Transnational Production
    8. International Trade and security
    9. Global Division of Labour
    10. The Global Financial System
    11. The Green Economy
    12. Multiple choice test – part two- in class (20%).
    Specific Course Requirements
    not applicable
    Small Group Discovery Experience
    Tutorials will include small-group activities and semi-structured discussions designed to provide students with a fulfilling 'small group discovery experience'. Students will also present small-group research projects in tutorials, assessed by the course coordinator.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Tutorial Presentation - 10%
    Tutorial participation - 10%
    Major Essay - 45% (2500 words)
         The word count includes a separate 250 word abstract.
    Two in-class Multiple Choice Tests - 35%
        Test one is worth 15% Test two is worth 20%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    The major essay must be submitted both through the Assignments link and to Turnitin (both on MyUni).
    Assessment Detail
    Tutorial Presentation (10%)

    There will be weekly presentations on issues of political economy in the tutorials throughout semester, in pairs or small groups. The presentations will take the form of a media analysis. Each student will be assigned one newspaper, current affairs magazine, (or other suitable media source). Sources may include: the Economist, The Guardian, The Advertiser, The Age, The Australian, The Financial Review, The Green Left Weekly, the Internationalist, and others.

    After being assigned a media source, students will be put in a pair or small group and given a specific international political economy theme. Each student must analyse the content and address in what way (if any) their source covers the set theme in an economic, political and cultural sense. Such themes might include production (both production processes and labour); finance, trade, economic development; war; and the environment. Students must use the three major models or theories of global political economy already investigated (economic nationalism; liberalism; critical theories), and identify if there is there any evidence of a particular political ‘line’ or ideology underlying the newspaper’s treatment of these issues. Also, in the event of non-reporting, is this, in turn, evidence of a certain kind of unspoken ideological stance. 

    Tutorial Participation (10%)

    Tutorials are forums for free exchange and discussion of informed opinions, that is, ideas and thoughts based on reading and reflection, as well as places for raising questions and for the exchange of relevant information. All students are expected to have read the required readings in preparation for the tutorials. Tutorials will be assessed on the basis of the depth of knowledge on the weekly topic, the quality of engagement with the weekly readings and other materials, and the attitude displayed towards the arguments and contributions of others.

    Two in-class Tests (total of 35%) 

    Test one is worth 15% Test two is worth 20%. These short tests, based on course textbook, additional readings (uploaded to MyUni), and lecture material, will be held in the last lecture period before mid-semester break, and the last lecture period of the semester respectively. The venue will be the same as the lecture venue. Students are expected to make themselves available for the tests on these days at the normal lecture time.

    Major Essay (45%)

    Word count: 2500 words - The word count includes a separate 250 word abstract.

    The development of written and oral skills remains the foremost objective of the course. This is why the major research essay carries the heaviest weight regarding the students’ assessment for this course. Students are required to research thoroughly and provide a critical (i.e., theoretically informed) research essay using theories, concepts, methods and empirical information covered in the module. 

    A list of essay questions will be provided on the Course Profile, located on MyUni.

    A separate abstract (250 words) will be attached to the front of the major essay when handed in. Students are required to develop their own, individualised abstracts which, in turn, outline the exact questions which each student attempts; lists the order of argument and its exposition; and then provides a précis of basic premises and conclusions which are at the core of the major research paper. Writing papers which conform to an abstract allows the student to develop the skills to frame research in a way which interests them, rather than merely responding to mass, set questions. In addition, it more closely resembles professional academic and journalistic writings.
    The major essay must be submitted both through the Assignments link and to Turnitin (both on MyUni).

    The official procedure to apply for extensions is: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/student/exams/mod_arrange.html

    Students must apply for extensions through the official procedure unless:

    1. The student is only requesting a short extension of two days or less
    2. The assessment is worth 20% or less.
    3. The student is registered with the Disability Office and has a Disability Access Plan.

    Late essays without an extension will be penalised at the rate of 2% per day.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

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  • Policies & Guidelines
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