Social and Political Geography

Description

This module uses a range of contemporary social and political geographical approaches tounderstand how, why and in what ways individuals and organisations act in an increasingly globalised world.

In semester 1 the module will elaborate a critical geography approach with regard to current socio-economic developments at the global scale, paying particular attention to questions of:

  • Social equity
  • Demographic change
  • Household coping strategies
  • The spaces of energy production and consumption

A geographical critique of neoliberalism and its discontents will form the conceptual core of the module, utilising the wide body of scholarship in this field.

Building on human geography concepts introduced in year 1, the module will aim to take students beyond a mere descriptive understanding of the basic themes and issues in contemporary social geography by giving them the skills – mainly through EBL methods – to actively question taken-for-granted assumptions regarding the relationship between society, economy and the everyday.

Complementing the social geography approaches considered in semester 1, in semester 2 our focus moves to key concepts in political geography, and to contemporary political geographical forms of organisation.

Specifically, drawing on historic and contemporary examples (including case studies of the world's largest trading bloc, the European Union), semester 2 provides an in-depth analysis from political geographical perspectives of the following issues:

  • What are the key concepts in political geographical thought and the critical drivers of political geography for actors and organizations, and how are these manifested at a variety of spatial scales?
  • To what extent can different theoretical approaches enable us to better understand these drivers?
  • What are the likely future patterns and processes of political integration and geopolitical development across Europe?

Delivery

  • 38 hours lectures
  • 8 hours practical classes/workshops

Assessment

  • 2 hour examination, essay style questions (50%) on the political geographies of Europe
  • Essay, 3000 words (50%) on social geography topics

Key skills

  • Evidence based-learning methods
  • Critical thinking
  • Independent reading
  • Research and analysis
  • Group discussion and participation