CANCELLED - COURSE: Sustainable Development and International Political Economy

Course content

This course is a 7,5 ECTS-points course, which is concluded with a free  assignment. The course can be taken as part of the IPE specialisation or as an optional course as part of the MSc or BSc in Political Science at the University of Copenhagen.

    Within IPE ‘development’ and ‘the environment’ has up until now been treated as two separate objects of study (with a few exceptions see e.g. Newell 2012; Christoff and Eckersley 2013). Global governance of development and the environment has, however, been radically changed with the adoption of the UN’s Agenda2030 and its merger of development and environmental goals into the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

     In order to critically analyse and evaluate to what extent the two previously distinct issue areas in IPE and global governance have really been merged, IPE students will need knowledge about both previous and current theories and public discourses and practices on development, the environment and sustainable development.

     This course provides the students with an advanced understanding of how sustainable development – as a practice and a concept in the governance of the global economy – can be analysed and criticised from different theoretical perspectives within IPE (and related sub-fields, such as ecological economics, development theory or political ecology). Students will also gain an understanding of the potentials and problems associated with classical IPE approaches to development and the environment and the nascent IPE literature on sustainable development.

 

Detailed description of the course contents

     The course runs over 7 weeks with 2*2-hours classes each week (or 1*4-hours class TBC). The below list shows the five themes of the course and the class titles (the latter of which indicates the themes under investigation in each of the classes):

 

Theme I: Development in IPE

1. Introduction. IPE and development theory: studying global poverty and inequality

2. The evolution of international development discourses & practices

Theme II: The Environment in IPE

3. IPE and the environment as an externality or ‘nest’ for the economy

4. The evolution of global environmental governance & its discourses

Theme III: Sustainable development in IPE

5. Sustainable Development – a contested concept in IPE and beyond

6. Weak & strong sustainability & the sustainable development ladder

Theme IV: The centrality of economic theory in the sustainable development field

7. Business as usual and the arguments for & against Limits to Growth

8. The economic gap – insatiability & the economics of good and evil 1

9. The economic gap – insatiability & the economics of good and evil 2

Theme VI: Global sustainable development governance: fora, actors and goals

10. The green economy and green growth – a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

11. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a paradigm change?

12. Sustainable development as the new key theme in IPE?

Wrap-up of the course

13. Workshop – facilitating the (written) exam through group work

14. Wrap-up of the course and Q&A about the examination

 

Competency description

Knowledge

Students will obtain concrete knowledge on specific global development and environmental governance cases and an in-depth understanding of the most important IPE approaches to the study of key concepts on development and the environment in order to place these cases in a wider conceptual framework and historical context. On the basis of this, students will be able to reflect on the usefulness, applicability and normative implications of the different approaches.

Skills

Students will be able to analyze specific cases and evaluate the empirical, concrete and complex challenges within the field of global sustainable development (including development and environmental) governance. Furthermore, they will understand the different political, managerial and conceptual challenges that arise from different sustainable development governance methods, techniques and concepts, and how these align, or not, with existing IPE theories and practices of global development and environmental governance.

Competences

Students will be able to assess and understand the political and social context of the strategy (concepts and measurements) adapted to transition to sustainable development and to evaluate the political impact of different strategies and their potential challenges to IPE.

 

Education

Elective course in the Specialisations "International Political Economy" and "International Relations, Diplomacy and Conflict Studies"

 

Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS


Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS

Learning outcome

The objective of the course is to enable the students to:

Describe:

1) The development of theories and practices of global development governance

2) The development of theories and practices of global environmental governance

3) The emergence of theories & practices of global sustainable development governance

4) The role of economic theories in sustainable development discourses and practices

5) How the adoption of the SDGs can be perceived as either a success or failure of global sustainable development governance; and what the SDGs implies for the field of IPE.

 

Present the key features of the theoretical frameworks examined in the course (i.e. theories on development, environmental politics and the concept and practice of sustainable development).

 

Apply the theoretical frameworks examined in the course to actual/empirical cases (e.g. the EU Commission’s circular economy project; the World Bank’s green growth project and the European Environmental Agency’s green economy project).

 

Compare and analyse the theoretical frameworks examined in the course relating to international development, environmental and sustainable development practices.

 

Combine and synthesise contributions on the course’s reading list to the academic debate on:

1) Global development governance

2) Global environmental governance

3) Global sustainable development governance

3) The role of economic theory in sustainable development discourses and practices

4) The impact of the SDGs, the green economy and green growth on IPE[1]

 

Evaluate the validity, usefulness, and normative implications of the different theorists’ and researchers’ arguments examined in the course.

 

[1] As an academic field, and as the ’de facto’ unfolding of the global political economy.

The readings for each class of the 14 classes are listed below under the title/main subject dealt with in each of the respective classes. Moreover, is the course structured around five themes:

I. Development in IPE;

II. The Environment in IPE;

III. Sustainable Development in IPE;

IV. The centrality of economic theory in the sustainable development field; and   

V. Global sustainable development governance: fora, actors and goals

 

Each of theme I-III includes one conceptually and one empirically oriented class, while theme IV and V does not include theory but only discussions of discourses, practices, regimes, actors and goals in global sustainable development governance.

 

 

Theme I: Development in IPE

 

Class 1 and 2. IPE and development theory: studying global poverty and inequality

 

    O’Brien, R. and Williams, M. (2013) Global Political Economy, 4th ed., Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 11 ‘Economic Development’ (pp. 307-344). 37 pages.

    Broomé, A. (2014) Issues and Actors in the Global Political Economy, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 16 ‘Global Poverty and Development’ (pp234-255). 21 pages.

 

(In total: 58 pages)

 

 

3. The evolution of international development discourses & practices

 

     Moyo, D. (2009) Dead Aid: Why Aid Makes Things Worse and How There is Another Way for Africa, London and New York: Penguin Books. Part I The World of Aid (pp. 3-70). (68 pages).

 

     Naomi Klein’s (2007) The Shock Doctrine, New York: Metropolitan Books.  ‘Conclusion: shock wears off: the rise of people's reconstruction’ (pp.560-591). (31 pages).

 

(In total: 99 pages).

 

 

Theme II: The Environment in IPE

 

4. IPE and the environment as an externality or ‘nest’ for the economy

    

     O’Brien, R. and Williams (2013) M., Global Political Economy, 4th ed., Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 12 ‘Global Environmental Change’ (344-374). 30 pages.

 

     Farley and Smith (2014) Sustainability: If it’s everything, is it nothing?, London and New York: Routledge. Introduction (pp. 1-13). 13 pages.

 

     Broomé, A. (2014) Issues and Actors in the Global Political Economy, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 18 ‘The Environment and Climate Change’ (pp. 272-285). 33 pages. (In total 99 pages)

 

     Clapp, J. and Dauvergne, P. (2011) Paths to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment, 2nd ed., Cambridge, MA. and London: The MIT Press. Chapter 1 ‘Peril or Prosperity? Mapping Worldviews on Global Environmental Change’ (pp. 1-18). (18 pages).

 

     Clapp, J. and Dauvergne, P. (2011) Paths to a Green World: The Political Economy of the Global Environment, 2nd ed., Cambridge, MA. and London: The MIT Press. Chapter 8 ‘Paths to a Green World? Four Visions for a Healthy Global Environment’ (pp. 227-251). (24 pages).

 

(In total: 141 pages)

 

5. The evolution of global environmental governance & its discourses

 

    Chasek, P. S., Downie, D. L. and Brown, J. W. (2014) Global Environmental Politics, 6th ed., Boulder, CO. (USA): Westview Press. Chapter 3 ‘The Development of Environmental Regimes: Chemicals, Wastes, and Climate Change’ (101-175). 74 pages.

 

    Chasek, P. S., Downie, D. L. and Brown, J. W. (2014) Global Environmental Politics, 6th ed., Boulder, CO. (USA): Westview Press. Chapter 4 ‘The Development of Environmental Regimes: Natural Resources, Species, and Habitats’ (pp. 175-237). 62 pages.

 

(In total: 136 pages)

 

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
Written
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28