BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy & Economics

Goldsmiths, University of London
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Bachelor's programs

Course overview

This challenging and ground-breaking degree introduces you to core ideas and issues in politics, philosophy and economics (PPE). It will help you understand how the economy is governed, how public policy gets made, and the ideas which shape our world.

Why study BA Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Goldsmiths?

  • We offer a distinctive, fresh and critical take on the well-established combination of Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE), drawing on our strengths in social science and theory. You'll gain an introduction in the ideas and concepts that have shaped the world you live in, and learn to challenge established political and economic policies, institutions and methods.
  • As one of the top political universities in the UK (Which? University 2018), Goldsmiths offers a dynamic undergraduate culture, with active student media and politics groups. By the time you graduate, you will have gained a wealth of practical experience, and discovered what excites you for your career ahead.
  • You’ll be taught by highly engaged lecturers working across politics, philosophy and economics, all of whom are active researchers and accomplished writers in their fields.
  • The programme includes a basic introduction to economics, so you don’t need any prior experience of economics or an A-level in Mathematics before you start.
  • Over the three years, you’ll be introduced to alternative approaches to the economy, drawn from anthropology and sociology. You will be encouraged to think more broadly and imaginatively about the way in which markets, states and public policies operate in the 21st century.
  • You’ll focus on contemporary, real-world problems, such as financial and environmental regulation, which will prepare you for a career in public policy, NGOs, media, consulting or social innovation.
  • In addition to the taught curriculum, you will have the opportunity to hear from experts and policy-makers at special guest lectures. 

Contact the department

What you'll study

In the first year, you will take four modules: an introduction to economics, an introduction to philosophy, a module on contemporary issues in political economy (such as the financial crisis) and one of the existing politics first year modules.

The second year becomes more interdisciplinary and critical. It includes a module in political and economic anthropology, exploring the nature of money, property and markets. The philosophy module brings in elements of continental philosophy and critical theory.

In the third year, you will have the chance to choose from a large variety of modules, from across different departments, and also have the option to do a dissertation. This will allow you to draw on the skills you have acquired over the first two years, to take your own approach to the questions of politics, philosophy and economics. By the third year, we expect you to see various connections between the separate fields of politics philosophy and economics, and be able to combine them in critical and imaginative ways.

Year 1 (credit level 4)

Students take a total of 90 credits comprised of these compulsory modules:

Year 1 modules

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
-

This module will be concerned with the ways in which Western philosophy, ever since its beginnings in ancient Greece, has tried to think through the relationship between ethics and society, between ideas of the good and ways of organising collective life. It will introduce you to the ways in which philosophers, ancient and modern, have tried to think of the tension between passions, interests and virtues, as well as how they have framed the conflicts between individuals and collectives. We will also reflect on how attention to race, gender and social transformation impacts on our understanding of classical ethical problems.

-
15 credits

This course is designed to introduce students to some of the fundamental concepts, debates and theories in political philosophy. The course will aim to introduce students to:

  • key political concepts such as legitimacy, democracy, liberty, equality and justice 
  • major political traditions such as social contract, utilitarianism, liberalism and socialism
  • the ideas of a range of major political thinkers such as Hobbes, Locke, Kant, Bentham, J.S. Mill, Rousseau, Marx, Rawls and Nozick

 

30 credits

This module gives students an introduction to some of the key questions of contemporary political economy, and offers some critical and cultural approaches to the major policy problems of today. The module focuses on the failure of elites to respond to recent crises, such as the financial crisis and environmental crises, and offers some ways of analyzing where power lies, the role of experts in contemporary economic policy, and how the notion of ‘neoliberalism’ helps us to understand the current state of political economy.

30 credits

They then choose one of these Politics and International Relations modules to make up the remainder of their 30 credits:

Module title

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 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
30 credits

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the importance of colonialism and imperialism, and resistance to these, in the shaping of our world. It treats culture, including forms of art, as central to politics.

It begins by considering non-Western forms of politics, civilisation and culture prior to colonial domination. The rest of the module explores the forms of political, cultural, aesthetic and ideological interaction, and change, engendered in the module of the colonial encounter. A related aim of the module is to introduce students to a range of types of reading material and sources, beyond the conventional first-year textbook. 

30 credits

Students take the following compulsory modules:

Year 2 compulsory modules

15 credits

The module engages with fundamental questions about governance, institutions, practices, politics, and social change through a focus on the state. We begin with some key questions related to the Anthropology of the State, which are discussed in the context of contemporary politics.

We look at how the state has been theorised, researched and whether ethnographies of nationalism, citizenship and labour are challenged by comparative ethnographic approaches. We will study institutions like the family, movements and migration in relation to questions around the state and will discuss intersectionality of gender, class, race and ethnic community in relation to citizenship, resources, labour relations, and social formations. It is crucial for this course to engage with comparative work, especially ethnographies, which will allow us to discuss the many layers in which state is experienced, researched and ultimately becomes real in different contexts.

15 credits
15 credits

This module introduces students to key concepts and texts in modern European philosophy, taking the question of subjectivity as its guiding thread.

The first half of the module explores, in their historical sequence, some of the most influential understandings of the subject, and of the possibilities and limitations of knowledge, produced by modern philosophy. Beginning with a critical exploration of the way in which René Descartes' 'Cogito ergo sum' (I think therefore I am) has been seen as the inauguration of modern philosophy, we will investigate different ways of posing the problem of the knowing subject: the empiricism of John Locke and David Hume, the critical philosophy of Immanuel Kant, the dialectical phenomenology of spirit of G.W.F. Hegel and the contradiction between faith and knowledge in the thought of Søren Kierkegaard.

Through a close consideration of these philosophers, students will be introduced to key notions in philosophy: epistemology, ontology, phenomenology, critique, and the distinction between the empirical and the transcendental. 

 

15 credits

This module introduces students to key concepts and texts around the nature of aesthetics and the philosophy of art. The first half of the module will cover topics such as: the nature of art and the aesthetic; the nature of aesthetic experience and representation; expression and its logical underpinnings; the nature of sensation and the aesthetic object; and the relationship between art, judgment, and morality.

Each topic will be treated in relation to classical texts as well as the work of leading contemporary theorists working in the field. The second half of the module will focus on the sustained reading of one major text in the philosophy of art and aesthetics, contextualising it within the historical moment in which its key premises and arguments emerged, isolating its major claims and interlocutors, and evaluating its contributions to fundamental debates on art, aesthetic experience, and the claims and limits to the autonomy that the aesthetic implies.

15 credits
15 credits

The course offers an in-depth and critical anthropological analysis of western political economy through a Marxian and post-colonial framework. Combining historical contextualization and anthropological comparison, the course develops not only an historical materialist and cultural critique of western capitalism, but also a space of hope and prefiguration of post-capitalist life.

Overview of the module content:

To introduce you to the core concepts and theories relating to economic and political organisations and the problem of accounting for change, both empirically and theoretically.

To familiarise you with a number of empirical contexts in order that you may be able to conceptualise the complex socio-economic processes that are affecting the peripheral areas that have long been the concern of anthropologists.

To explore a number of contemporary problems relating to such issues as the apparent contradiction between local or national autonomy and globalisation that do not fit easily into definitions of the "economic" or "political".

15 credits

Module title

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
30 credits

This module introduces the mathematical methods used in the analysis of modern economics. This module does not require an A Level in Mathematics (or equivalent) and is suitable for students both with and without an A Level in Mathematics as it teaches the use of mathematics in relation to economic theory and application.

Students will revise and apply basic concepts of mathematics to relevant economic problems. Furthermore, they will learn partial derivatives and second partial derivatives of functions of two or more independent variables, constrained and unconstrained optimisation. These mathematical tools will be taught with special emphasis on how they are used in economic applications and real life examples.

30 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 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

Students can then select modules to the value of 30 credits from the following Politics and International Relations options:

Module title

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

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)

Students write a research dissertation (30 credits) and take the compulsory module Global Cultural Politics. They then select their remaining 60 credits from the following 3rd year Politics and International Relations options:

Year 3 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

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

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

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

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 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 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

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
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
30 credits

The aim of this course is to familiarise students with the central traits of the economic and political architecture of the European Union (EU), explore recent milestones in closer economic integration, analyse the ramifications that this economic and political integration process is having on the contours of politico-economic governance in the member states, and explore some of the policies generated by the EU in fields such as labour and social policy, migration, competition policy, environmental policy, and industrial policy.

The course also aims to provide an analysis of the key events and institutions shaping the European integration process. There will be also be a debate about future challenges facing the EU, including past and future rounds of enlargements and the formulation of a common security and defence policy.  

30 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

In this module you’ll focus on the application of quantitative theory using data sets that were introduced in the Quantitative Economics module.

With the guidance from academic staff, you are expected to find and collect appropriate data from your own research question, and come up with statistical tests in order to test your hypothesis.

You will then compose a report that explains your findings and the reasons why you used this specific estimation tool. An integral part of your report is to consider the limitations of the statistical toolbox in analysing the specific data set, and more broadly, the limitations of statistical analysis in answering the policy or theoretical question you set out to investigate. Throughout this module you’ll be gaining experience in using computer packages to analyse real data. You’ll learn to use Excel and a second program (Stata), which will enable you to run regressions, do hypothesis testing, correlation analysis and, more generally, analyse raw data collected.

In preparing the report you’ll gain transferable skills in:

  • finding, utilizing and downloading data from primary sources
  • using computer programs to do data analysis
  • developing a research question that can be investigated with the existing data set
  • presenting findings in a report format
15
15 credits

In this module you’ll be introduced to the quantitative methods used by economists in their empirical work. You’ll learn the basic properties of the normal distribution, and the difference between the normal and other types of probability distributions (chi-squared, uniform).

You’ll gain an understanding of hypothesis testing and the basic theory for linear regressions and the use of ordinary least squares in empirical analysis. Furthermore, you’ll learn about problems that may arise with this estimation method; and specifically estimation bias, spurious correlation, multicollinearity, heteroscedasticity, missing variable bias.

This technical analysis is to be followed by two weeks of methodology on statistics for the social sciences, and a philosophical discussion on the appropriate use and limits of these techniques in analysing social phenomena.

The objective of the course is first to technically train you in estimation theory, and second to introduce you to broader questions regarding the use of these tools in applied analysis.

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 module offers an introduction to theoretical debates and methods of digital anthropology. It combines an introduction to the debates that have shaped the field with practical sessions designed to familiarize learners with digital methodologies for anthropological research. As digital technologies transform contemporary experiences of subjectivity, embodiment, sociality and everyday life, the module uses anthropological tools and methods to think through digital technologies in a range of ethnographic contexts. Topics covered will reimagine the object of anthropology through digital ethnography, and explore how the purchase of digital futures and imaginaries remake anthropologists’ conceptual toolkits.

The module will combine an enquiry into the materialities and politics of digital infrastructures, devices and social media platforms with practical learning using digital methods to produce anthropological analysis. Practical sessions will develop independent research skills including research design and ethics, working with digital video, techniques of online data collection and digital qualitative and ethnographic analysis.

15 credits
30 credits

International Relations has traditionally been occupied with questions of war and peace. This module zooms into the places in between: places of protracted armed conflict, many of which don’t classify as zones of war but are also far from peaceful.

It investigates the emergence of violent political and social orders that need be understood in order to engage in meaningful conflict transformation. The conceptually-driven module draws on interdisciplinary scholarship to equip students with a wide range on concepts, theories and methods that help with analysing armed politics and political violence in a variety of empirical contexts around the world.

Structured in three parts, the module looks at 1) the actors of violent social and political orders, including non-state armed groups in their inter- and transnational context, 2) dynamics of conflict and violence, including cultural spheres of contestation and the transformation of societal relations, and 3) the institutional landscape that emerges in situations of protracted armed conflict, including governance by armed groups and violent economies.

30 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 - 16% scheduled learning, 84% 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 - 100% coursework
  • Year 3 - 100% coursework, 1% practical

*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.

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), 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. You can find out more about career options after graduating on our Poliitics and International Relations careers page.

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Bachelor's programs

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London , United Kingdom