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Critical Challenges in Political Economy - PPE00001H

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  • Department: Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. John Evemy
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Economic crisis has become an almost permanent state of being for over 15 years. This module draws on approaches from Economics, Politics, Sociology and Political Economy to crucially examine the crises of modern capitalism and explore potential solutions.

Related modules

This module assumes a basic knowledge of economic theory equivalent to a first-year introductory module or some Stage 2 political economy modules provided in politics. This is not required to pass the module or perform well in the assessment, but students may find some topics challenging if they have not covered this material before.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 1 2024-25

Module aims

This module aims to address the multiple crises and challenges faced by contemporary Political Economy. The cost of living crisis, global trade, slowing global growth and environmental crises all have complex social and economic roots. As part of this module students will combine approaches from across the disciplinary boundaries of politics and economics (both orthodox and heterodox) to investigate to the fundamental relationships that cause, drive, and exacerbate the social and economic crises we face today. And perhaps more importantly, develop potential solutions.

Students on this module will:

  1. be introduced to the core approaches in political economy through the study of contemporary challenges in political economy such as growth, inflation, and economic crises.

  2. develop their understanding and analysis of economic and political processes by drawing on critical approaches from across the fields of politics, economics, and political economy. Highlighting points of synthesis, disagreement and contradiction.

  3. develop their ability to reason critically by grounding their analysis in concrete challenges faced by contemporary political economy and combining theory with empirical data to advance analysis.

  4. develop their problem solving abilities by discussing and evaluating potential solutions to these problems, their strengths and limitations.

Module learning outcomes

  • Identify issues and situations in society where concepts and principles from Economics and Politics can provide insight, and confidently apply those concepts and principles as appropriate. (PLO1)

  • Engage with, and draw on, academic and professional research in Politics and Economics, with an ability to distinguish different themes within it, and to synthesise ideas across disciplinary boundaries (PLO5)

  • Use interdisciplinary thinking to reflect upon and engage with complex contemporary socio-economic issues, including the critical evaluation of the economic and financial policies of governments and other institutions (PLO6)

  • Improve academic and personal performance by developing initiative, self-organisation and time management skills, as well as the ability to assimilate advice and feedback in individual or collaborative work (PLO7)

  • Clearly present, explain and communicate complex ideas in a variety of modes including verbal, written and technical (PLO8)

Module content

The summative assessment is a 3500 word essay where students advance an analysis of a contemporary challenge and develop a solution to it.

The formative essay is a 500 word summary of the challenge students want to address in their summative essay.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3500 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3500 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their assessment in no later than 25 working days. They will have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Some indicative texts would be:

Bhattacharya, T (2017) Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, London: Pluto

Harvey, D (2018) The Limits to Capital, London: Verso

Shields,S, Bruff, I & Macartney, H (2011) Critical International Political Economy : Dialogue, Debate and Dissensus, Basingstoke: Palgrave

Watson, M (2007) Foundations of International political Economy, Basingstoke: Palgrave

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.