BA (Hons) Economics, Politics & Public Policy

Goldsmiths, University of London
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Bachelor's programs

Course overview

This programme addresses the practice of politics in the ‘real-world’, in which every political choice is simultaneously an economic act, and every economic decision has indelible political consequences.

Why study BA Economics, Politics & Public Policy?

  • Studying Economics, Politics and Public Policy at Goldsmiths will put you at the heart of an evolving field, and a broad range of modules lets you tailor your degree to your own interests.
  • Our Political Economy Research Centre is dedicated to investigating social and cultural perspectives of economics, from inequality and debt to politics and sustainable prosperity.
  • You’ll explore how political conflict and economic cooperation go hand in hand, and learn how our political-economic questions and problems are inescapably social, with their roots in even our smallest daily activities.
  • You’ll develop the tools to explore and understand key ideas in politics and economics, preparing you for a career in a range of areas. You might work in campaigning, lobbying or local government, or use your skills in a charity, think tank or social research organisation.
  • Our London location means you’ll have Westminster, global business and diverse diasporas are all within easy travelling distance.
  • You’ll join an active community at one of the top political universities in the UK (Which? University 2017). You’ll be able to get involved in campaigns, debates, activities and societies and meet other people as passionate about the subject as you.

Contact the department

What you'll study

In the first year, you take the following three compulsory modules:

Year 1 compulsory modules

30 credits

This unit introduces students to the comparative approach to politics and government, in addition to building a understanding of the politics and governance of four key members of the European Union: the UK, Germany, Italy and France.

The first half of the unit is focused on the UK and also considers the EU as an institution, while the second half concentrates on the other three countries at the unit’s core.

Students will not only build an essential foundation for studying the politics of the UK and EU, but will also develop their skills in comparative methods.

30 credits
30 credits

This is an introduction to political theory and an exploration of why central political ideas and concepts influence our understanding of the world around us. Assessed by: one essay and a two-hour unseen examination.

30 credits
30 credits

This unit will introduce students to the study of world politics, emphasising that there are different and competing perspectives on how to approach the subject.

In the first term, we focus on the three dominant paradigms (realism, pluralism and structuralism) that defined the discipline of International Relations throughout the 20th Century. We situate those paradigms in the historical context in which they were developed and critically examine both their contribution to our understanding of world politics and their shortcomings.

In the second term, the unit identifies some of the contours of the post-Cold War inter-national environment. In particular, it explores claims that contemporary world politics are defined by processes of globalisation. 

30 credits

 

15 credits

This module provides an introduction to the main theories, concepts, and topics in the field of political economy. The principal aim of the module is to explore how our conceptions of the economy and of economic action are inescapably political, by which I mean that they are a) based upon political assumptions concerning human agency and b) have political implications.

The module explores these hypotheses by examining the emergence and history of economics beginning with Adam Smith, progressing through the marginalist economists and neoclassical economics and finishing with modern political economists such as Joseph Stiglitz and Ha-Joon Chang.

15 credits

This module provides an introduction to the main theories, concepts, and topics concerning economic policy.

The principal aim of the module is to examine the ways in which public, economic, and international policies (which are in practice interchangeable) are bound up with political economic understandings of the economy and economic agency. Put differently, the aim of the module is to explore the deep and ineradicable links between political practice and economic ideas.

The module explores these links by progressing through the basic concepts in public policy (such as public goods and monetary/fiscal policies) before an examination of the main issues, questions and developments in modern policy such as gender, financial crises and international organisation.

15 credits

Module title

30 credits

This module introduces students to microeconomics, macroeconomics and the context of economic analysis. Students will get a good grounding in microeconomic theory and will understand the principles used in mainstream rational choice and perfect competition theory.

The course will cover preference theory, demand and supply, income and substitution effects, cost and revenue curves, perfect competition and partial equilibrium theory. The focus here is the internal consistency of neoclassical microeconomics as exemplified in rational choice theory and competitive markets, and its use of logic. Arguments showing the context and limited nature of neoclassical economic tools in explaining the economic and social reality will be discussed throughout these weeks. 

Then students will be taught topics of macroeconomics. In this section, the focus will be on the following specific concepts: national accounting, inflation, unemployment and business cycles. The analysis of these concepts will be through the use of contemporary schools of economic thought (New Classical, New Keynesian, Post Keynesian, and Monetarist) and their analytical frameworks. By viewing these concepts through these different frameworks, the student is introduced into open-ended discussions on these topics as different answers are equally valid as long as students can clearly identify the theoretical frameworks that he/she is using.

Finally, students then will learn about the social, political and business context of economic theory through the discussion of case studies and real-world examples.

30 credits

In the second year, you choose exactly 30 credits from the following list:

Module title

15 credits

This module introduces students to key topics in international economics. It is divided into two parts.

In Part I, we will study trade theory and policy to understand the patterns, determinants, and consequences of international trade. Topics covered in this part include the basics and critique of classical and neoclassical trade theory, economies of scale, international factor mobility, and the effect of trade on wages and income distribution.

Part II of the module will provide students with a set of tools to understand and systematically analyze the monetary side of the international economy. Key topics covered include the balance of payments, the determination of exchange rates, interest rates and prices in open economies, different exchange rate regimes (fixed versus floating), interdependence of economies, and the international financial markets.

Further, we will employ this theory to better understand recent issues such as the persistence of the US current account deficit; the creation of the Euro and the future of the US Dollar as a reserve currency; the nature and consequences of financial crises.

Students are expected to come out of this module with a deeper understanding of international trade and monetary theory and related economic policy issues.

15 credits
15 credits

This module introduces students to the sub-discipline of international or global political economy (IPE). Its focus will be on the connections and interactions between domestic economic processes and policies and international economic developments.

You will be introduced to the major theoretical traditions in IPE and the overarching debates concerning international collaboration, coordination and competition, before exploring the various issues and problems faced by international actors, such as those concerning trade, finance and the environment.

The module will draw attention to the potential (and contested) links between international developments/issues and domestic political and economic issues throughout, with the intention of encouraging you to develop a perspective on both the constraints the “international” poses upon domestic actors and the duties domestic actors have to the former.

15 credits
15 Credits

This module introduces students to the key political economic transformations that made the modern world. We start by exploring the emergence of capitalism, market society and the divergence between East and West. We then examine Imperialism, and the place of slavery in American capitalist development. We examine how ‘the household’ was siphoned off and separated from ‘the economy’ and what that meant for the understandings of gender in political economy. After this we turn our attention to the present day. When and why did the Great Acceleration of environmental decay begin? What is the US military-industrial complex? We then examine the emergence of Platform Capitalism today before finally exploring what possibilities exist for a different future. Our goal is to use history to understand the power relations behind the workings of the global economy.

15 Credits
30 credits

This module introduces you to various attempts to clarify and understand the links between economic and political processes which come under the banner of ‘political economy’. As a whole, the module is intended to draw out the links between the broad “school”-level approaches (such as Marxism, economic sociology, methodological individualism and institutional economics) and contemporary issues and analyses (concerning questions of resource scarcity, predation, coordination failures and trust).

To this end, the module is split into two broad parts. The first part guides you through the main thematic approaches to political economy in order to examine the principle concepts theorists have used to understand and explain economic processes. The second part seeks to apply these concepts to contemporary economic issues and questions.

It seeks to both clarify and examine the various understandings of the market and the state which have shaped the direction of economic research, so that you can finish the module with a clear understanding of the various ideas, concerns and beliefs which motivate real-world political economic arguments.

30 credits

The remaining 90 credits of your second year are made up from the list of options currently available in the Department:

Year 2 option modules

15 credits

This module addresses a number of themes that relate to questions of nationalism, imperialism, identity and gender, focusing on Japan’s emergence as a modern nation state, its imperial project and its catastrophic defeat, culminating in the dropping of the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and its occupation by Allied forces. The historical perspective, which the module seeks to offer, is central to an understanding of Japan’s troubled relationship with its Asian neighbours, and of its claims of uniqueness, which have their legacy in its position as both coloniser and colonised. The module approaches questions of politics through a very expansive definition of the term, treating cinema, animation, manga, and other popular cultural forms as important sites for the articulation of political anxieties and concerns, which are not necessarily reflected in more conventional forms of political activity, such as political debates, deliberations of the Diet and so on.

15 credits
15 credits

This is a broad, historically-based survey module of Chinese politics that takes the student from the early days of communist partisanship through to the end of the Cultural Revolution (from 1921 to 1976 or thereabouts). This module is designed to offer both an overview of and background to, contemporary Mainland Chinese political culture and an insight into a form of politics that is very different from that of liberal democracy.

This module is a lot more historically oriented than many of the other survey modules offered in the Department, but to understand this country requires an understanding of this history which is still lived very much as an on-going set of norms and values. It is difficult to understand China today without an understanding of this history and what this module offers is a survey account of this period.

15 credits
15 credits

This module focuses on the principal debates and issues that have been shaping world politics since the end of the Cold War.

The module provides a detailed review of the main theoretical perspectives contributing to contemporary international relations theory, critically assesses what international relations theory is about, identifies the abstractions and logic it deploys, and interrogates its relation to the outside world.

15 credits
15 credits

This module investigates the history of European society since 1945. This historical overview is divided into four thematic sections of several lectures each:

  • Cold War and Post-Cold War Europe
  • The Great Economic Boom and the Rise of Globalisation: Keynesianism, Neo-Liberalism and the Welfare State
  • End of Empires West and East: Decolonisation and the Rise of Multicultural Europe
  • European Integration and the Reconstruction of the European Nation-State

These themes reflect the unique changes in Europe since 1945, which still make this a valid periodisation today.

 

15 credits

This module explores the place and the role of international organisations in the international system. The module covers historical, theoretical, legal and policy-related aspects of the evolving nature and roles of international organisations in world politics.

A particular focus is the widening and deepening of international governance that has occurred since the end of the Cold War. This process of global governance is framed as a response to the increased prevalence of transnational concerns and problems that cannot be resolved by individual sovereign states.

The module explores how international organisations, in alliance with states and non-governmental actors, identify and respond to these problems.

15 credits
15 credits

A critical and historical study of political thinking and political argument in the United Kingdom since the early twentieth century to the present day, examining liberalism, socialism, conservatism, anarchism, feminism, the rise of the modern state, the nature of politics, and the character of the political community.

The module examines the work of important thinkers from the William Morris and the Webbs through George Orwell and Virginia Woolf to the present day. 

15 credits
15 credits

The purpose of the course is to provide students with a set of theoretical tools and concepts that will enable them to understand and systematically analyse the monetary side of the international economy.

Key topics covered include the balance of payments, the determination of ex-change rates, interest rates, and prices in open economies, different exchange rate regimes (fixed vs. floating), the interdependence of economies, and international macroeconomic policy.

We will also employ this theory to better understand recent issues such as the persistence of the US current account deficit; the creation of the Euro and the future of the US Dollar as the key international currency; the nature and consequences of financial crises.

Students are expected to come out of this course with a deeper understanding of international monetary theory and related economic policy issues. 

*In order to study this module you must have taken Economics modules at level 4.

 

15 credits

With the collapse of ‘socialist’ regimes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, liberalism today is a triumphant political theory and system. Yet from the moment of its birth, liberalism has been subjected to sharp criticism, and alternatives to it have been and continue to be urged. This module is an introduction to liberal theory; to the circumstances of its historical emergence and, in particular, to the concepts and values which are central to liberal thought.

It aims to promote critical reflection upon the political and ethical values that underlie Western liberal democracies. Having examined the core values of liberalism, we proceed to consider critiques - communitarian, feminist and Marxist - of liberalism.  A second aim of this subject is to promote intellectual engagement with, and evaluation of, critiques of liberal theory and of liberal society.

15 credits
15 credits

This module sets out to analyse, critique and experiment with the politics of everyday life. It starts from the position that the study of daily life (or what the French call le quotidian) provides a necessary concrete specificity with which to address, engage with, or resist a range of important issues.

In the module of our investigations, the insights of de Certeau, the Situationists, the Trapese Collective, CrimethInc and many others are extended into detailed investigations of the structures and mythologies of ‘everyday life’. 

15 credits
15 credits

The module brings an historical perspective to key issues in British politics from 1979 to the present day.

It does that by examining themes such as rise of Thatcherism, the divisions in the main political parties, the rise and fall of New Labour, and the politics of the 2010 Coalition.

15 credits
30 credits

In this module we examine the modern tradition of political thought. Students will be introduced to the major figures in this tradition – English thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke and Mill and continental thinkers such as Rousseau and Marx.

Through these thinkers, we will explore key themes and concepts such as sovereignty, justice, human nature, property, rights, liberty, democracy and equality. 

30 credits
15 credits

This module introduces students to the study of the political dynamics and conflicts currently affecting the Middle East.

It will provide a historical overview of the roots of these contemporary conflicts in that region throughout the twentieth century to the present day, exploring the legacy of imperialism, the rise of Arab nationalism post-Second World War, the emergence of the state of Israel and the implications of the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, the Iranian Revolution, the Sunni-Shia conflict, the Arab Spring and the rise of radical Islam. It will also examine the broader implications of these dynamics for the international system.

The module is divided into three parts. The first part, Theoretical and Methodological Overview, offers an introduction to the main theories and debates about the Middle East. We will look at key approaches to the Middle East in International Relations and the Areas Studies, examining major differences and limits of these theories, as well as the effects of the so-called Orientalist debate, and its association with colonialism and state formation in the region.

The second part, Identity and Politics in the Middle East, inquires into the role of identities and ideologies in the politics of the Middle East. We will examine the ideological battle between nationalism, Arabism, tribalism, and political Islam in the twentieth century, discussing how different actors have negotiated between national, sub-national and super-national ties.

In the last part of the module, Hegemony and Political Change in the Modern Middle East, we will explore the geopolitics of the region. We will examine the interaction between the different states in the region (the Gulf monarchies, the Israeli-Palestinian setting, the Arab Republics), international actors and the overall social context of Arab countries.

15 credits
15 credits

This module is concerned with the visual and its discursive political effects. It starts from the premise that vision is not merely a neutral way of seeing the world, but rather is intimately bound up with the political.

As such, the module is interested in unpacking the political nature of how we code and construct the world through vision, the position that art and aesthetics play in moderating political debate and even knowledge construction itself, as well as investigating the relationship between ‘seeing’ and ‘doing’ more broadly in terms of surveillance, control and power.

In studying these issues, the module will explore topics as diverse as aesthetics, censorship, surveillance, documentary and blockbuster film making, mapping and cartography, travel writing and memory, cosmetic surgery and the visual elements of class politics. The module will consist of weekly lectures and seminars, as well as fortnightly film-screenings. The ultimate aim of this module is to provide students a ‘toolkit’ to decode the everyday politics of vision that guide and construct our lives.

15 credits
15 credits

To gain a more sophisticated (and less prejudiced) knowledge of “rough politics” is particularly vital today, as the age of globalisation seems to be framed by the conflict between the rule of law represented by western democracies, and the violent disorder embodied by the Global South.

In studying this shadowy territory we will touch upon fundamental issues for today's social sciences: the afterlives of Twentieth Century revolutionary politics, the connections between political violence and religion, the nature of informal and illegal economies, the current debates on globalisation from below, the prospects for social rebellion, the construction of new political subjectivities and novel ways of representing the “other”.

We will do all of this by studying the political significance of guerrilla warfare in shaping global politics; the language of martyrdom in religious based terrorism; Al Qaeda´s dependence on mass-murder to advance a populist theology, Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea reinventing the fascination and fear caused by pirates from a bygone age, Colombian paramilitaries enforcing order and disregarding at the very same time the Rule of Law, The Mara Salvatrucha street gang dominating neighbourhoods in El Salvador and Los Angeles, and hackers disturbing the otherwise unalterable profitmaking arrangements of the Internet.

15 credits
15 credits

This module explores the interaction between US domestic and foreign politics. It seeks to understand the way that domestic political dynamics influence foreign policy and the role of the US in the broader international arena. It introduces students to the structure of US government and the main interest groups involved in the foreign policy-making process, examining the broader ideological and political trends that have shaped the way the US acts on the global stage as the world’s only remaining superpower.

Part of the module will take a historical overview, looking at how US foreign policy has developed post-Second War, throughout the Cold War, and into today’s War on Terror, showing how different administrations have responded to perceived international threats, opportunities and challenges, as well as domestic political pressures and concerns.

The module will also examine a number of contemporary issues currently faced by the US, which are likely to shape US foreign policy and security strategy for the foreseeable future: conflict in the Middle East; the threat of Islamist terrorism; the economic rise of China; global nuclear proliferation; the challenges posed by Russia; and the broader issue of global climate change. It will look at how the US responds to these dilemmas, and how these issues figure in domestic political debates and the US’ perception of itself.

15 credits

Year 3 (credit level 6)

In your third year, you write a research dissertation worth 30 credits and also select at least 30 credits from a list of Political Economy/Economics modules which currently includes:

Year 3 modules

30 credits

This module will provide students with an understanding of key issues in the field of contemporary radical political economy.

It will outline and critically evaluate orthodox economic approaches to globalisation as well as challenges from the anti-capitalist movement. Marxist, autonomist and green economics will be examined and criticised.

You'll look at the effects of global capitalism on poverty, equality and environmental sustainability. Alternatives to the market and state regulation of economic activity such as commons regimes, open source and social sharing will also be put under the microscope. 

30 credits
15 credits

This module focuses on the political and cultural economy of finance through the empirical lens of the global economy. It seeks to foster a deeper understanding of finance as a technical practice but also as a powerful transformative process that shapes politics and public policy.

*In order to study this module you must have taken Economics modules at levels 4 and 5.

 

15 credits

This module seeks to equip students with the capacity to think critically about ethical and economic approaches to environmental protection issues and the relationship between the two.

It will examine human rights, eco-centric, utilitarian and economic perspectives both at the theoretical level and in the practical context of policy arguments over the appropriate role of regulatory, community-centred, and market-based forms of environmental decision-making.

15 credits
15 credits

This module combines a variety of approaches from history, sociology, and political economy in the study of the global political economy. Its focus will be on the connection between international economic integration and domestic socio-economic transformation in the making of the contemporary world order. Further, we will examine how theories have shaped policies in the context of increasing integration of the global economy. 

*In order to study this module, you must have taken Economics modules at levels 4 and 5.

 

15 credits

This module offers an alternative take on the politics of liberalism, through emphasizing the concept of government, as it has developed since the late 18th century. While optimistic and normative theories of liberalism stress its commitment to individual rights and legal freedoms, the approach taken by this module is to view it more sociologically and empirically, in terms of the instruments of control and intervention which make it possible to influence and know how seemingly autonomous individuals will behave.

This is a theoretical and empirical approach commonly associated with the work of Michel Foucault, which will be covered in the module, in addition to other similar critical perspectives. By focusing on government (and, later in the module, governance), students will be invited to view liberalism partly as a problem of expertise, scientific knowledge, identification of socio-economic problems, measurement and management. It will suggest to students that the history of liberal politics is inextricably entangled with efforts to achieve scientific knowledge of those who make up a liberal society. 

15 credits
15 credits

Immigration is rapidly emerging as one of the key concerns for public policy makers in the 21st century in Europe and beyond. Net immigration levels to the United Kingdom and Europe have increased dramatically since the early 2000s. This has spawned pressing questions about the impact on labour markets, public service provision, and community coherence. It also raises questions regarding national identity and assimilation. Whilst British policy-makers in the early 2000s liberalised labour migration regulation, the resulting problems have led to rethinking immigration since. These problems include downward pressure on wage levels, pressure on public services and housing, as well as rising concerns over immigrants refusing to integrate into mainstream society and partake in crime and religiously motivated acts of terrorism. Immigration has thus once again become a highly politicised policy domain. This course examines the politics and economics of immigration in the United Kingdom, with some consideration given to developments elsewhere in Europe.In addition to the weekly lecture, there will also be weekly discussion- based seminar sessions for undergraduate students.

15 credits
15 credits

The module will analyse the organisation of private companies internationally and globally, and the cardinal role they play in the world economy of the 21st century.

It will start by describing the relevant theories from leading schools of economic thought; will then explain how corporations are organised at the global level, how they relate to other firms in their sectors, and the rapidly developing mechanisms that protect them from economic and political challenge; and finally, offer case studies of corporate and pro-corporate lobbying in two important areas, based on the lecturer’s recent researches (before he worked for Goldsmiths).

*In order to study this module you must have taken Economics modules at levels 4 and 5

 

15 credits

You can then choose a further 60 credits from the available list of modules in the Department of Politics and International Relations.

These can include those modules listed above, as well as the following examples:

Year 3 option modules

15 credits

This subject is built around glimpses of, and insights into, the lives of ordinary Chinese people and the rules and rituals that govern their existence. Students will discuss the ways everyday life was governed under socialism and the ways that control is now breaking down with the emergence of a consumer culture, enabling a close scrutiny of the politics of everyday life.

Picking up on themes as diverse and quirky as Mao badge fetishists, hoodlum slang, and taboo’s and tattoos, the subject examines the way a range of people not only live but resist dominant social dismodule.

This subject also employs an array of new critical thinking from Western social theorists to highlight these themes. Students will therefore gain a grounding not only in the politics of everyday life in China but also in Western theoretical engagements with the everyday. 

 

15 credits

This module is experimental and speculative in nature. Its chief aim is to question the priority accorded to theories and perspectives of the International emanating from the North. It will draw upon different materials (taken from Postcolonial and subaltern studies, historiography, development theory, and the margins of contemporary IR) as well as non-traditional authors.

The module is split in two halves: the first dealing with novel perspectives and new critiques from the perspective of Southern authors; the second applying these tools to a re-evaluation of the traditional theories and perspectives of the North.

Each student is encouraged to embrace this spirit of experimentation to bring materials and ideas from other disciplines and from their own wanderings through the political rather than being reliant on textbook views from on-high. 

15 credits
15 credits

This unit focuses on the history, politics and ideology of anarchism chiefly from its origins in the nineteenth century to 1939.

There will be a discussion of anarchism in the post-1945 period but the main aim of the unit is to trace the origins and development of anarchist ideology (Godwin, Proudhon, Stirner, Bakunin, Kropotkin, Malatesta, Goldman etc) and the associated social and labour movements in Europe and the Americas (from the Paris Commune of 1871 to the Spanish Civil, 1936-1939, and from the Haymarket Riot of Chicago in 1886 and the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 to the Russian Revolution and Civil War of 1917-1921).

There will also be a substantial time devoted to anarchist-type movements and ideas which developed throughout the world before 1800 and as well as a discussion of anarchism, its reception and interchange with thinkers, ideas, and movements in Asia and Africa. 

15 credits
15 credits

Modern philosophy inherited the Enlightement ideal of founding politics upon rational grounds. Reason, as opposed to tradition or dogma, involves defining transparent rules that we freely give ourselves. But can such rules ever be devised? How do we account for the utterly irrational dimensions of human existence or the tragic persistence of evil? When so much of modern life seems beyond all reason, how can human freedom ever form the basis of a secure community?

This module examines the ideas of selected thinkers in the Continental tradition over the module of the last two hundred years. It follows the rise and decline of rationalism and the effort to discover redemption both inside and outside philosophical thought.

15 credits
15 credits

This module examines the impact of European integration on British politics, policymaking and political culture since the middle of the twentieth century.

It will examine the effect of the legacies of British Great Power and imperial status upon its relationship to European integration. Whilst this module will examine the interaction of successive British governments and the dynamics of party politics in the shaping of European policy, it will also employ a broader sociological and historical perspective to determine whether or not Britain was a ‘reluctant European’ before joining the EEC in 1973 and an ‘awkward partner’ ever since it joined. 

15 credits
15 credits

Colonialism and imperialism were among the most important and defining processes of the last few centuries. Western imperialism remade both ‘East’ and ‘West’, and it served to create the ‘modernity’ which we now all inhabit.

This module begins by looking at the colonising process before going on to introduce students to some of the ways in which the non-Western world confronted the violence and inequality of colonialism.

Focusing on specific thinkers and themes, it engages with the political thought of significant intellectuals and political leaders (including MK Gandhi, Nehru, and Fanon), and examines different forms of anti-colonial politics, including nationalism, socialism and ‘third-worldism’.

15 credits
15 credits

This module explores the contemporary security agenda in world politics. It addresses both theoretical debates over the nature of security and the range of phenomena currently identified as security threats.

The module takes as its point of entry the emergence in the post-Cold War world of the idea of human security, which challenged the traditional view that the state was the primary referent of security. Contemporary security studies now focus on a broad range of actors – states, individuals, substate groups, transnational NGOs and intergovernmental organisations.

These actors are studied as:

  • subjects exposed to a range of security threats
  • actors that individually and collectively seek to reduce their vulnerability to risk
  • as sources of insecurity themselves
15 credits
15 credits

The module considers the development of feminism as a political ideology and a social movement through history and explores how feminist theory, policy and activism have developed in relation to each other to address pressing contemporary issues around the world. The module analyses empirical and theoretical aspects of feminist politics, drawing upon a range of feminist theorists and using examples from various world regions and time periods.

By examining the conceptual and empirical impact of feminism upon the study of politics this module introduces students to the complex ways in which gender relations permeate both formal institutions and societal relations. Feminist theory has provided a radical and challenging critique of mainstream political ideology and the module will consider the various contributions of thinkers such as bell hooks, Judith Butler and Andrea Dworkin, alongside the recent turn towards intersectionality.

The module considers specific substantive topics, such as reproductive justice, violence against women and pornography, as a means of exploring the application of feminist theory, the development of legislation, and the mobilisation of activism and campaigns. Underpinning this analysis, we will be reflecting upon the wide range of protest repertoires activists use to further the goals of the feminist movement. 

15 credits
15 credits

This course is designed to provide intellectual and analytical tools to understand the phenomenon of political Islam in contemporary world politics. Taking an in-depth perspective and highlighting the complex interaction between history, religion and politics, the module looks at the ideology and discourse of political Islam, examining its historical and intellectual origins as well as the reasons, implications, and effects of its evolution from its emergence in the early twentieth century to the Arab Spring and afterwards.

While offering an analysis of the main ideas and doctrines that have inspired Islamist theorists and movements, it critically examines key historical junctures in the complex development of Political Islam as a political force inside and outside the Middle East. The course will explore the variety and diversity of approaches of main Islamist organisations, from mainstream and domestic groups as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Nahda and Hamas to the late emergence of global jihadism, al-Qaeda and Daesh. Focus will also be given to the phenomenon of Islamic terror in Europe, and the debates about the social and political dynamics behind recent terrorist attacks.

15 credits
15 credits

Since the end of the Cold War the overwhelming majority of conflicts in the world have been internal – often resulting from nationalist grievances and policies. This module will examine the causes of nationalist conflicts, as well as the various tools and policies adopted by international actors towards them.

After providing an overview of the two main scholarly approaches to nationalist conflict (primordialism and modernism), we will focus on the structural, cultural, political and economic causes of such conflicts and on the forms of international intervention employed to resolve them – ranging from ‘cooperative’ approaches such as diplomacy and peacekeeping to ‘coercive’ measures like economic sanctions and military intervention.

We will also assess the debates surrounding international ‘state-building’ projects and partition along ethno-national lines and methods applied to achieve post-conflict justice and reconciliation.

Throughout the module students will be encouraged to focus on a case study of their own choosing and to apply the more general theoretical and policy debates to their specific case in the weekly discussions and in their assessed coursework.

15 credits
15 credits

This module explores the origins and dynamics of conflict in Africa and evaluates interventions aimed at peace and political transformation. It examines the different forms of conflict that emerged on the continent in the post-Cold War period, including genocide, civil war, electoral violence and non-violent protests.

It considers the political significance of the historical characteristics of the African state and social forces, and the influences of regional and international actors. It draws on relevant theoretical debates on the drivers of conflict to inform the analysis of country case studies, and to identify critical issues such as ethnicity, resources, land grabbing, militarised masculinity, corruption and globalisation.

It looks both at international interventions in peacebuilding, and at less visible initiatives by local actors. The course provides an in-depth understanding of recent African experiences and offers insights into the wider problems of conflict and challenges for peacebuilding in the contemporary era. 

15 credits
15 credits

Rhetoric is the art of speech and persuasion. In classical Greece and Rome, rhetoric held a central place in politics. To speak and argue well was an integral part of being a citizen. In modern, democratic societies, speeches and arguments remain a primary source in political life. But we have become more suspicious of what we hear, and perhaps less attentive to the ways we are being persuaded.

This module examines the techniques of rhetorical analysis and applies these to the study of contemporary political speeches. 

15 credits

Not available to Sociology/Politics and History/Politics students

This optional module will involve spending two days each week from week 2 to week 9 (16 days in total) on a work placement. Placement providers will include a range of organisations in the NGO sector such as charities, think-tanks and pressure groups, bodies connected with international organisations, appropriate businesses, and political parties.

There will be a pool of guaranteed places which will be allocated on the basis appropriateness of the placement to the student’s interests. However, we also encourage students to take the opportunity to find their own placements and will support them in that process.

We would hope that all students will be able to take up the opportunity should an appropriate placement be found. In fairness to hosts, we will also have to be confident that students’ levels of attendance and achievement while at Goldsmiths suggest that they can benefit from the placement.

15 credits
15 credits

This module treats culture as central to an understanding of politics and ideology and focuses on contemporary popular culture in Japan as a particularly significant site for understanding current political concerns. Focusing on literature, cinema, anime, manga, and other cultural forms in times of momentous political changes, the course seeks to chart how political anxieties and passions come to be articulated in different periods in Japan’s history. These forms often provide insights of a kind unavailable through standard historical documents and conventional discourse. How did Japan set about creating a modern nation along western lines in the 19th century, and what did this mean in terms of creating new forms of knowing and inhabiting the world? What were the affective intensities that fuelled ultranationalism in Japan? How were the Japanese able to turn themselves into war victims in the post-war period? How has Japan figured in the western imagination and how can we rethink Said’s Orientalism in light of Japan’s own strategic self-orientalisation? It is by examining the close inter-connections between politics, ideology, and culture that the module seeks to address these questions.

15 credits
15 credits

This course critically examines development assistance as a form of international intervention in low- and middle-income countries. Since the end of World War II, international development assistance has played a key role in fostering geopolitical alliances and shaping political and socio-economic development in recipient countries.

The post-Cold War period saw a proliferation of donors and initiatives aimed at tackling different issues in the countries that formerly belonged to the ‘second’ and ‘third’ world.

What are the motives behind these interventions and, more broadly, what are the determinants of international development assistance? How is development assistance designed, planned and implemented? What is the impact of international development assistance on the ground? These are the questions that this course will seek to address by looking both at the international aid architecture and at specific instances of this mode of intervention.

15 credits
15 credits

This course explores the intersection between popular music and politics. It starts from the premise that ‘the political’ is a site of contestation whose parameters are constantly being rearticulated by multiple cultural practices, including music.

Three limitations provide the course with a coherent focus. First, while the historical relationship of music and politics extends back to (at least) ancient Greek tragedy, the subject matter is limited to contemporary, i.e. post-World War Two music. Second, while many late 20th century classical, avant-garde and jazz artists have engaged with politics, the course focuses on ‘popular’ music, broadly defined. Third, while music has often been deployed in the service of state power, the onus is on music associated with political movements that have sought to challenge established orders.

The course, then, explores popular music as a conduit for, expression by which, and manifestation of political struggle, protest and contestation.

Whereas it is standard to focus on the popular music/politics nexus exclusively with respect to US and UK experiences this course has a broader purview, exploring this dynamic within and between societies and cultures across the world.

The course also explores the music/politics relationship beyond the obvious messaging of political lyrics. It assumes that the politics of music are communicated through (and limited by) a complex of cultural systems – song structures, album artwork, music videos, fanzines, fashion, concert rituals, the music press, the recording industry, social media etc. which can reinforce, rearticulate and importantly distort or undermine intended political gestures or meanings.

In terms of material to be studied, while academic literature is important, students will be encouraged to listen to and think critically about songs, albums and videos as texts which either implicitly or explicitly engage or challenge the political.

Some of the substantive themes the course will address include: the contribution of folk and soul music to the US Civil Rights Movement; the struggles of Tropicália and Afrobeat with military dictatorships in Brazil and Nigeria; black consciousness in US Hip-Hop and Rap; class and race in Punk and post-punk in the UK and Europe; the feminist politics of the Riot Grrrl movement; transnational anti-globalisation music activism in Latin America and the US; the spatial politics of Electronic Dance Music; the postcolonial iterations of European Rap and Heavy Metal in the Middle East; xi K-Pop and the political economy of hybridity.

15 credits
PO53

This module provides an introduction to the main issues, approaches, and controversies concerning feminist economics. The principal aim of the module is to examine the ways in which feminist economists in their rich diversity challenge mainstream economic theory. The module will explore the feminist critique of economic methods, domestic labour, power, institutions and ecology. The specific contribution of feminist economics will included detailed discussion of the work of Esther Duflo, Sadie Alexander, Elinor Ostrom, Deidre McCloskey, Joan Robinson, Rosa Luxemburg and Amartya Sen. Feminist economics, while universally concerned with issues of power, ranges from free market to Marxist practitioners and beyond.

PO53

Teaching style

This programme is mainly taught through scheduled learning - a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops. You’ll also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. This includes carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, and producing essays or project work.

The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 15% scheduled learning, 85% independent learning
  • Year 2 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 11% scheduled learning, 89% independent learning

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods, depending on your module choices. These include coursework, examinations, group work and projects.

The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 75% coursework, 25% written exam
  • Year 2 - 60% coursework, 40% written exam, 3% practical
  • Year 3 - 100% coursework

*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2018/19. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices. Find out more about how this information is calculated.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

What our students say

Why did you decide to come to Goldsmiths?

I came straight from sixth form to Goldsmiths as I knew my degree would broaden my knowledge and understanding of the world, especially of politics and world affairs, and greatly enhance my employment opportunities. I picked Goldsmiths because it had a reputation for excellence, which was confirmed by my experience.

What was your favourite part of university?

I’ve enjoyed my Goldsmiths experience, especially the second and third years as I gained more confidence and was more involved in directing my studies. I found the course challenging, yet engaging and thought provoking. The lecturers are very supportive, so I’d recommend all students take advantage of all the help and support available. And you should always discuss your coursework and essay practice with your lecturer – they’re the ones marking it! 

I'd advise any Politics students to keep up-to-date with current affairs and carefully balance university work with a social life. I'd also recommend students make the most of the Student Union societies.

What have you been doing since graduating?

After leaving Goldsmiths, I wanted to work in the energy industry to focus on energy efficiency, energy sustainability and reducing energy costs for consumers. I have been lucky enough to be able to focus on all three areas throughout my career since leaving Goldsmiths. During my first role in EDF Energy, I worked on the smart metering project, where I focused on how we could deliver a robust smart metering solution whilst reducing costs to consumers.

My second role in EDF Energy involved working as a Nuclear Liaison Analyst, where I was responsible for maximising the value of the Generation Assets to ensure that providing a low carbon energy source was financially viable to ensure the longevity of nuclear generation and avoid plant closures.

Since leaving EDF Energy, I have begun work at ElectraLink as an Industry Change Analyst. This role requires me to understand and respond to widespread changes within the energy market, such as regulatory changes driven by the government or system changes driven by market actors. While my core role requires me to understand these changes and liaise with market actors to understand how these changes affect ElectraLink, working for a central actor in the energy market like ElectraLink allows me to liaise with key actors in the energy market and influence how these changes are delivered.

What are the key skills you developed at Goldsmiths?

Studying at Goldsmiths provided me with the skills to investigate and scrutinise the economic and political environment that the energy market resides within. I also believe the values of fairness and equality that are embedded in the culture at Goldsmiths continue to guide my decision-making to ensure I do the right thing by consumers of the energy market.

Entry requirements

A-level: BBBInternational Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655 Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modulesScottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)European Baccalaureate: 75%

International qualifications

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.0 with a 6.0 in writing and no element lower than 5.5 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Fees & funding

  • Home - full-time: £9250
  • International - full-time: £16390

If your fees are not listed here, please check our undergraduate fees guidance or contact the Fees Office, who can also advise you about how to pay your fees.

It’s not currently possible for international students to study part-time if you require a Tier 4 student visa, however this is currently being reviewed and will be confirmed in the new year. Please read our visa guidance in the interim for more information. If you think you might be eligible to study part-time while being on another visa type, please contact our Admissions Team for more information.

If you are looking to pay your fees please see our guide to making a payment.

Additional costs

In addition to your tuition fees, you'll be responsible for any additional costs associated with your course, such as buying stationery and paying for photocopying. You can find out more about what you need to budget for on our study costs page.

There may also be specific additional costs associated with your programme. This can include things like paying for field trips or specialist materials for your assignments. Please check the programme specification for more information.

Funding opportunities

Careers

Skills

This programme will develop you intellectually, and will enhance your transferable and communication skills – learning to plan your workload, to research solutions, and to express your ideas coherently.

Careers

Our graduates go on to a wide variety of careers. Some go on to postgraduate study or further training in law, accountancy, social work, business administration, or to specialise in one area of their academic studies, whilst others go directly into employment.

Recent graduates have found employment in administration and management; in various departments of central and local government; in finance, in the media; in research and computing; in voluntary agencies; in health, education and housing management; the probation service; in company management, and as lecturers and teachers.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths. You can also find out more about the career options open to you after you graduate on our Politics and International Relations careers pages.

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Bachelor's programs

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London , United Kingdom