Development, Globalization, and Contemporary Issues in Global Political Economy

Course content

Lecture 1: Development: “Modernity” and “Progress”

This lecture explores some key concepts that, often implicitly, inform ideas about modernization and development, chief among them ‘modernity’ and ‘progress’. The lecture focuses on the contested nature of these concepts by discussing schools of thought that embrace progress and its critics.


Lecture 2: Modernization Theory                                          

This lecture brings us to ongoing debates about the meaning of development by examining the dominant theory of development: modernization theory (and related theories).


Lecture 3: Critical Development Theory

This lecture concentrates on approaches to development that criticize a number of assumptions of modernization theory, the most central of which is the capabilities approach (Amartya Sen) and the Human Development paradigm (UN).


Lecture 4: Defining International Political Economy

The name ‘Global Political Economy’ marks one key scholarly development – the critique of state-centrism. Once this field was more commonly called ‘International Political Economy’ (IPE). For many scholars, it still is ‘International’. However, the value of the name change is important where you want to note that research has to look at not just nation-states but also other types of actors who, in some way, are important. We also need to think through what happens at the meeting point (the ‘nexus’) between politics and economics. Why is it that we call it ‘political economy’?

Lecture 5: IPE-theories                                                                              

This lecture goes through various IPE–theories to make sense of current global political economic processes.

Lecture 6: Globalization: Concepts and Theories                                       

This lecture will center the attention on globalization. Central concepts and theories that make sense of globalization will be critically discussed.


Lecture 7: International Trade and Transnational Production

What starts off as a simple word hides a complex series of issues. For example, what is ‘trade’, and how should it function? How is it linked to transnational production and global division of labor?


Lecture 8: Finance, Knowledge, and the Governing of the Global Economy

This lecture considers two central components of the contemporary global economy – finance and the knowledge economy.


Lecture 9: The US-China Trade War

This lecture explores the political economy of the US-China trade war


Lecture 10: The Challenges of State Making in a Global Capitalist System: the Case of Ethiopia

This lecture covers the topic of state making and the challenges this process encounters in the context of the global capitalist system. The concepts of “internal colonialism” and “failed state” will also be presented, and the problems and opportunities of state making in the contemporary era will be empirically exemplified with the case of Ethiopia.


Lecture 11: BRICS, AIIB, and BRI: China Challenge or What?

In this lecture, we will focus on the BRICS and the AIIB institutions and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. We will scrutinize these Chinese-led projects and examine of they are challenging the US-led international order


Lecture 12: Globalization and the Rise of Integrated World Society

There is a widespread feeling that globalization represents a major system change that has or should have brought world society to the forefront of international relations theory.

This lecture builds on the concept of ‘integrated’ world society. Conceptual frameworks from international political economy are also used to systematically explore the structure of integrated world society along six dimensions: military/security, political, economic/production, credit, knowledge, and ideological. On each of these dimensions, power has centralized as it has globalized. The centrality of the United States in the networks of world society makes it in effect the ‘central state’ of a new kind of international society that is endogenized within integrated world society.


Bachelor student (2012 programme curriculum): 10 ECTS

Bachelor student (2017 programme curriculum): 7.5 ECTS

Master student: 7.5 ECTS

Learning outcome


After completing the course, the student shall be able to critically discuss, explain and analyze distinct theories of global political economy in terms of actors, issues, and levels of analysis. The student should also be able to argue for different scientific conceptualizations, explanations and interpretations of global political economy.



On completion of the course the student shall demonstrate:

- an ability to engage closely yet critically with texts on a high level of theoretical complexity;

- an ability to extract, formulate, and communicate theoretical questions; and

- an ability to use theoretical concepts and analytical approaches in analyses of empirical cases.



On completion of the course the student shall demonstrate:

- a capacity to adopt a reflective approach to issues of theoretical complexity; and

- a capacity to reflect on how empirical material is used to explain or understand changing political contexts.

Preliminary reading list:


Babones, Salvatore, and John H. S. Aberg. “Globalization and the Rise of Integrated World Society: Deterritorialization, Structural Power, and the Endogenization of International Society.” International Theory 11, no. 3 (November 2019): 293–317.


Hameiri, Shahar, and Lee Jones. “Rising Powers and State Transformation: The Case of China.” European Journal of International Relations 22, no. 1 (March 1, 2016): 72–98.


Bond, Patrick. “BRICS Banking and the Debate over Sub-Imperialism.” Third World Quarterly 37, no. 4 (April 2, 2016): 611–29.


Strange, Susan. “Toward a Theory of Transnational Empire.” In Global Changes and Theoretical Challenges: Approaches to World Politics for the 1990’s, edited by Ernst-Otto Czempiel and James Rosenau, 161–76. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath and Co., 1989.


Clapham, Christopher. “The Ethiopian Developmental State.” Third World Quarterly 39, no. 6 (June 3, 2018): 1151–65.


Lin, Justin, and Ha-Joon Chang. “Should Industrial Policy in Developing Countries Conform to Comparative Advantage or Defy It? A Debate Between Justin Lin and Ha-Joon Chang.” Development Policy Review 27, no. 5 (September 1, 2009): 483–502.


McGillivray, Mark. “What Is Development?” In International Development: Issues and Challenges, edited by Damien Kingsbury, John McKay, Janet Hunt, Mark McGillivray, and Matthew Clarke, 21–49. London: Palgrave, 2016.


Gindin, Sam, and Leo Panitch. The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy Of American Empire. London: Verso Books, 2012.


Starrs, Sean. “American Economic Power Hasn’t Declined—It Globalized! Summoning the Data and Taking Globalization Seriously.” International Studies Quarterly 57, no. 4 (December 1, 2013): 817–30.


Carroll, William K., and Colin Carson. “The Network of Global Corporations and Elite Policy Groups: A Structure for Transnational Capitalist Class Formation?” Global Networks 3, no. 1 (January 1, 2003): 29–57.


Nolan, Peter, Jin Zhang, and Chunhang Liu. “The Global Business Revolution, the Cascade Effect, and the Challenge for Firms from Developing Countries.” Cambridge Journal of Economics 32, no. 1 (January 1, 2008): 29–47.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Free written assignment
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No 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
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • English
  • 28