POL30880 Capitalism and Democracy

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module introduces students to the comparative and international political economy of advanced capitalism. We will examine the evolving structure of capitalist democracies, and analyse the impact of globalisation on labour market change. We will identify distinct growth models within advanced capitalism and seek to explain the determinants behind different varieties of capitalism. We will study the power of big business within democracies, understand the hierarchical and interconnected nature of global capitalism, and assess how changing class politics affects preference formation, party competition and voting behaviour.

The module is structured around the following questions:

- What explains the structural transformation of capitalism over time?
- What is the relationship between national democracy and global capitalism?
- What explains the politics of institutional change within capitalist democracies?
- What explains the cross-national variation of growth models within Europe?
- Why are some capitalist democracies more unequal than others?

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Understand the socio-structural transformation of market economies from 1970-present.
Understand the changing nature of labour markets and employment structures.
Understand political economy theories that seek to explain the cause and effect of globalisation.
Understand political economy theories on the determinants of economic growth.
Understand political economy theories on the influence of business power in capitalist democracies.
Understand why some countries have higher levels of economic inequality than others.
Understand how income, education, housing wealth, and occupation effects voting behaviour and party competition.
Understand how all of the above is re-shaping class politics in contemporary capitalism.

Indicative Module Content:

A week-by-week syllabus will be provided with core readings to be completed in advance of class.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The module will be delivered in-person. Attendance and active participation is required.

The weekly classes will be seminar-based. There will be three core readings per class.

Each class is based around a research question that address these readings.

The class will start with a discussion of the question, then turn into a lecture format, and finish with roundtable/smaller group discussion.

The overarching teaching philosophy and assessment is informed by problem-based learning. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
POL20180 - Capitalism and Democracy

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Essay: End of term essay/paper. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Graded No


Continuous Assessment: Mid-term short paper/essay. Varies over the Trimester n/a Graded No


Attendance: You are expected to attend every class and complete core readings.

This will involve an online interactive mentimeter poll to engage your attendance and participation.
Varies over the Trimester n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided to students via brightspace.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12 Tues 12:00 - 13:50