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Unit information: Issues in World Politics in 2018/19

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Unit name Issues in World Politics
Unit code POLI10001
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Herring
Open unit status Open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit aims to introduce you to thinking about issues in world politics. It examines the ways in which we interpret and explain the systems, institutions and processes that are said to govern world politics and the beliefs, values and discourses that are held to be important. The unit starts with a discussion of how states, power, people and borders relate to each other and, closely related to this, the nature and significance of identity. Building on this we will examine poverty, inequality and neoliberalism then the environment and sustainable development. We then explore in turn violence and the arms trade; reducing danger and preventing conflict; human rights and humanitarian intervention; and the news media, the digital age and information. The unit is rounded off with reflections on making positive change happen in world politics and revision discussion of the essay topics and essay writing.


  • To provide a scholarly introduction to issues and perspectives in world politics.
  • To explore those issues and perspectives by means of lectures, essays and seminar discussion and presentations.
  • To develop the students' generic skills in group discussion, in presenting to groups and in essay writing.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completing the unit, the student will have demonstrated achievement of the following learning outcomes:

  1. knowledge at an introductory level about world politics;
  2. an ability to synthesise, interpret and apply critical thinking to information and ideas about world politics;
  3. an ability to present an argument about world politics clearly in written form;
  4. an ability to reference written material in a scholarly manner.

Teaching details

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour seminar

Assessment Details

25% for the first essay of 2,000 words.

75% for the second essay of 2,000 words.

Both essays are summative. The first essay will also play a formative role in the unit. Both essays will assess all four learning outcomes specified .

Reading and References

  • Jenny Edkins and Maja Zehfuss (eds), Global Politics: a New Introduction (London: Routledge 2014), 2nd edition.
  • John Baylis, Steve Smith and Patricia Owens (eds), The Globalization of World Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016) 7th edition.
  • David Harvey, A Short History of Neoliberalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).