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The European Union and Global Capitalism (Module)

Module description

Please note that module information is indicative and may change year to year.

The European Union is usually studied as a 'sui generis' entity from disciplinary (economic or political science) perspectives. This has its merits, if the purpose is to understand fine-grained aspects of the very particular and unique 'Euro-polity' or European economy. However, such an approach comes at considerable cost as it is unsuited for understanding how the EU is embedded in the broader global political economy, and attendant long term structural developments and crises (such as the recent global financial/Eurozone crisis). This module, by contrast, draws on theory and historiography developed within the interdisciplinary field of international political economy to teach students how make sense of the origins of the EU, its development, and its current organic crisis in a changing world order.

Module Aims

The aim of this module is to develop in students:

  • An understanding of the conceptual challenges entailed in analysing the European Union in global capitalism, and how these might be overcome;

  • An understanding of how different theoretical perspectives inform different narratives about  the origins and developments of the EU; 

  • An understanding of how competing narratives inhibit or enable the identification of the sources to contemporary crisis tendencies in the EU;

  • Analytically sound knowledge of the dynamics of EU politico-economic issue areas (such as the Single Market, EMU, financial market governance, social and regional policy) and the hierarchy between them.

  • Analytically sound knowledge about the position of the EU in the global political economy and debates about a possible decline of transatlantic hegemony and a rise of emerging markets and powers.

  • Understanding of the terms of debate about politico-economic reform in the EU.

Learning Outcomes

When students have completed this module they should:

  • Know central EU politico-economic institutions and their embeddedness in dynamics of global capitalism

  • Understand the merits and limitations of competing theoretical approaches for making sense of the European Union in global capitalism.

  • Be able to make reasoned analytical choices in their study of the European Union in global capitalism

  • Demonstrate that they are able to apply their understanding of theoretical debates to the empirical study of an issue area that is of relevance for understanding the European Union in global capitalism.

  • Demonstrate that they can make reasoned analytical choices and apply these to the empirical study of an issue area that is of relevance for understanding the European Union in global capitalism.

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

Weekly two hour seminar

Module assessment - more information

One mid-term 1,500 word review essay (worth 15%) and one final 3,000 word research essay (worth 85%)

Key information

Module code 7AAOM036

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 20

Semester Semester 2 (spring)

Study abroad module Yes