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Capitalism and the Politics of Markets


Module description

This module brings together political, economic and sociological analysis in order to address key topics such as the emergence of a distinct domain of the ‘economy’; the meaning of money; financialisation, debt and property; the contemporary commodification of both human and non-human life; and anti-capitalist protests. Running throughout is a sociological concern with the analysis of the systemic character of capitalist economic relations, and with the bifurcation of economic from other aspects of life (politics, morals, environment etc).

Indicative module syllabus

  • What is capitalism?
  • The meanings of money
  • Commodification
  • Capitalism as religion
  • Affective and immaterial labour
  • Financialisaton, debt and property
  • Economy and environment
  • Markets and morals from prostitution to baby selling
  • Contemporary bio-economies
  • Capitalism in crisis?

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • identify the main historical debates about the nature of capitalism and the market economy
  • understand and criticise the assumptions made by writers from different economic perspectives
  • apply theoretical insights from political economy and economic sociology to topical economic issues
  • marshall and appraise the arguments of others, produce arguments supported by relevant evidence.