Module DXX-3017:
Neoliberal Environments

Module Facts

Run by School of Natural Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 2

Organiser: Dr Sophie Wynne-Jones

Overall aims and purpose

What is Neoliberalism? In our current age of austerity and interlinked social and environmental crises it is regularly referred to, but not often defined. This module explores the differing dimensions of Neoliberalism and neoliberalisation - including the political-economic, socio-cultural and environmental processes involved and their impacts upon society and the environment. In particular, the module focuses on the interface between neoliberalism and environmental change, governance and politics. It will introduce students to key concepts from social-theory and political-ecology in order to evaluate a range of contemporary cases (including, for example, new modes of accumulation, privatisation and enclosure). The changing role of the State and non-State actors will be considered, alongside different governmental technologies and other modalities of power. Resistance and opposition to Neoliberal advance will be also be covered.

Course content

Key topics will include:

  1. Characteristics of ‘Neoliberalism’ and ‘neoliberalisation’ including the distinctions between policy, ideology and governmentality.
  2. The interface with environmental change, governance and politics.
  3. Key concepts from social theory and political ecology to explore the above

Case studies to explore the different dimensions and impacts of neoliberalisation, including (but not limited to): • New forms of accumulation – the creation of new markets
• Commodification – of new areas such as ‘ecosystem goods and services’ • Privatisation – of resources such as water and energy and services including health and education. • New enclosures – including forms of contemporary land grabbing. • Commons and community based approaches • Resistance – how and why neoliberalisation is being contested and rejected.

Assessment Criteria

excellent

In addition to the above, evidence of substantial reading from a variety of sources (e.g. books, journal articles and research reports), and advanced knowledge of recent developments in the subject. Advanced critical evaluation of concepts and case studies. Elegant and flowing presentation, with flair for subject.

threshold

Be able to demonstrate adequate knowledge of the different dimensions of Neoliberalism and neoliberalisation. Presentation of appropriate examples to demonstrate the political-economic, socio-cultural and environmental processes involved and their impacts upon society and the environment. Basic application of key concepts from social theory and political-ecology to evaluate relevant case-studies.

good

Clear understanding and thorough knowledge of the different dimensions of Neoliberalism and neoliberalisation. Highly structured, accurate and relevant descriptions of appropriate examples to demonstrate the political-economic, socio-cultural and environmental processes involved and their impacts upon society and the environment. Critical evaluation of concepts and case studies. High standard of presentation. Evidence of reading and knowledge of recent developments in the subject.

Learning outcomes

  1. Identify the different dimensions of ‘Neoliberalism’ and ‘neoliberalisation’.

  2. Describe the major imperatives, benefits and constraints of neoliberalisation.

  3. Critically evaluate appropriate case studies to demonstrate the different dimensions of neoliberalisation.

  4. Apply key concepts from social theory and political-ecology to evaluate the impacts of neoliberalisation on society and the environment.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Essay 40
GROUP PRESENTATION Group Presentation 20
EXAM Exam 40

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Seminar

5 x 2hr seminars

10
Private study

Private and guided self-study

166
Workshop

2*2 hr workshops

4
Lecture

10*2 hour lectures

20

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Inter-personal - Able to question, actively listen, examine given answers and interact sensitevely with others
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.
  • Teamwork - Able to constructively cooperate with others on a common task, and/or be part of a day-to-day working team
  • Management - Able to utilise, coordinate and control resources (human, physical and/or financial)
  • Argument - Able to put forward, debate and justify an opinion or a course of action, with an individual or in a wider group setting
  • Self-awareness & Reflectivity - Having an awareness of your own strengths, weaknesses, aims and objectives. Able to regularly review, evaluate and reflect upon the performance of yourself and others
  • Leadership - Able to lead and manage, develop action plans and objectives, offer guidance and direction to others, and cope with the related pressures such authority can result in

Subject specific skills

  • Develop and identify research question(s) and/or hypotheses as the basis for investigation.
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Consider issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.
  • Awareness of the concepts of spatial and temporal scale in understanding processes and relationships.
  • Appreciation of the reciprocal nature of human-environmental relationships.
  • Apply appropriate techniques for presenting spatial and/or temporal trends in data.
  • Preparation of effective maps, diagrams and visualizations.

Resources

Pre- and Co-requisite Modules

Pre-requisites:

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: