University of Sussex Business School

Political Economy of the Environment (L7094A)

Political Economy of the Environment

Module L7094A

Module details for 2019/20.

30 credits

FHEQ Level 6

Module Outline

For more information see here:

This module introduces students to a political-economy perspective on the key issues of the global environment. It attempts to move beyond the limitations of conventional political and economic analyses in coming to terms with the threats of environmental degradation and climate change. The module taps into a broader type of ethical, natural and social theorisation that defined an earlier tradition of political economy. This is not a module on environmental or resource economics, though these will be examined during the term. Rather, this module tries to understand social production as much more than a series of market relations. It tries to develop a broader socio-cultural understanding of production that `de-naturalises' the way we view and exploit the natural world.

The module also attempts to throw light on the tension between economics and the environment given the framework of an unequal world market. It will examine to what extent the pursuit of greater distributional justice in the global political economy is amenable to facing the challenges of environmental degradation and climate change. We will look at the opportunities and risks associated with the expansion of the global market, as well as the practicability of notions of sustainable development. Other topics covered in the module include capitalism and the environment; sustainable consumption; cultural political economy; environmental economics; ecological economics; private environmental governance; climate change denial; and case studies on China and India

Module learning outcomes

Develop a systematic and critical understanding of the key distinctions between a political economy approach and those of environmental economics and ecological economics.

Develop a detailed conceptual understanding of the key debates regarding anthropogenic climate change and environmental degradation and the value of a political-economy approach in conceptualising these issues.

Effectively synthesise and communicate a detailed knowledge of and argument about a specific topic of the political economy of the global environment.

Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
EssayT1 Week 6 100.00%
Essay (3500 words)Semester 1 Assessment Week 1 Thu 16:0070.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Autumn SemesterSeminar3 hours11111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr Earl Gammon

Assess convenor

Dr Andrea Brock


Dr Melanie Richter-Montpetit

Assess convenor

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