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Unit information: The Politics of (Un)sustainability in 2020/21

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Unit name The Politics of (Un)sustainability
Unit code POLIM0028
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Parrott
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

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

Description

This unit introduces students to the ‘politics of (un)sustainability’, through critical evaluation of the gradual emergence of sustainability politics and practice over the last 50 years. The nature and extent of the ecological crisis and the implications of this for long term human and non-human flourishing are considered, and the relationship between capitalism, accumulation and (un)sustainability is critically assessed. Key concepts are evaluated and critiqued from a range of green theoretical and philosophical perspectives, and emphasis is placed upon the intersections between global environmental degradation, social inequality, political representation and participation, and economic development/growth.

This unit aims to:

  • Encourage an interest in and understanding of the politics of (un)sustainability.
  • Develop a critical understanding of the conceptual and theoretical frameworks underpinning ‘sustainability’ actions and agendas at the international, national, grassroots and individual level.
  • Provide an analytical outline of the rise of the politics of (un)sustainability and highlight the intersections between global environmental degradation, social inequality, political representation and participation, and economic development/growth.
  • Create opportunities to develop key skills such as reading and research, analysis and evaluation, and essay writing.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate critical awareness of the intersections between global environmental degradation, social inequality, political representation and participation, and economic development/growth.
  2. Analytically apply core ‘green’ concepts to case study examples from the global North and / or South.
  3. Analyse and critique dominant discourses of environmentalism and ecological modernisation approaches to sustainability, from a variety of ‘ecologising’ perspectives.
  4. Demonstrate key skills in evaluation, speaking and listening, independent research, group work, essay writing and ICT.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Details

One essay plan of 500 words (formative assessment), one assessed 4,000 word essay (100% of unit mark).

All assessments test all ILOs.

Reading and References

  1. Barry, John (2012) The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability, Oxford: OUP.
  2. Bluhdorn, Ingolfur and Walsh, Ian (2015) The Politics of Unsustainability, Abingdon: Routledge.
  3. Dryzek, John et al (2013) Climate Challenged Society, Oxford: OUP.
  4. Hannis, Mike (2016) Freedom and the Environment: Autonomy, Human Flourishing and the Political Philosophy of Sustainability, London: Routledge.
  5. Naguib Pellow, David (2014) Total Liberation, London; Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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