Search type

School of Environment, Education and Development

Two Geography students on field trip
BA Geography with International Study

Study a course tailored to you at the university ranked fourth in the UK for Geography (Guardian University Guide).

BA Geography with International Study

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
Economic Geography: Understanding the economy. creating economic spaces

Unit code GEOG20101
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Geography
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Explaining and tackling uneven socio-economic development is an important item on the agenda in social sciences and politics alike. In an era of globalization and global economic crises, the regional and national prospects of welfare and growth are continuously contested. This lecture course will provide an overview of economic-geographical key theories and concepts in analysing economic processes at various geographical scales. To this end, the relationships between space, economy and society will be discussed in depth, including theories of location, agglomeration and development, the social construction and instituted ordering of production systems, the role of proximity in organising economic processes, and the scalar connections of economic activities that shape today’s world and regional economies.


The lecture course will address the following main issues:

·         Theoretical foundations and key concepts in economic geography

·         Economy and Society: culture, power, and embeddedness

·         Spaces and scales of economic development: innovation, production and consumption

·         Investigating the archipelago economy and prospects for development


·         To introduce students to some key theoretical concepts used in economic geography

·         To show how economic activities and their spatial configurations are socially and culturally grounded

·         To demonstrate how today’s economies have developed and are organised in different places and across different scales

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit, you should be able to:

·         explain economic structures and their spatial organisation from different theoretical angles

·         understand the social and cultural foundations that shape economic action in space

·         critically evaluate the prospects of regional economic development in an era of globalisation

During this course unit, you will be encouraged to develop the following abilities and skills:

·         Critical thinking, reflection and self-awareness

·         Taking responsibility for self-directed learning

·         Information handling skills, utilising materials from a variety of sources

·         An ability to assess the merits of contrasting theories, explanations and their policy and development implications


·         Week 1: Introduction to the subject; approaches to studying socio-economic disparities in the capitalist economy

·         Week 2: Regional worlds of production? Theorizing regional economic development

·         Week 3: Economy as instituted process: Markets, regulation and governance

·         Week 4: Economy as social and cultural process I: On actors and networks

·         Week 5: Economy as social and cultural process II: Ethnic economies and the role of culture

·         Week 6: Study week – no classes

·         Week 7: The spatialities of labour: What place for workers?

·         Week 8: Spaces of flows: The ‘logistics revolution’

·         Week 9: Study week – no classes

·         Week 10: Linking production and consumption: commodity chains and production networks

·         Week 11: Spaces of consumption: changing worlds of retailing

·         Week 12: Conclusions and outlook: Whither regional development?

Teaching and learning methods

The course unit will be delivered via weekly two-hour interactive lecture sessions including discussions and exercises. The lecture sessions will be supported by weekly one-hour seminars. A high level of student participation will be required from all students throughout the course. Reading prior to the lectures is required and additional reading around the themes of the lectures is expected.

The course is supported by a dedicated Blackboard site. This offers a variety of resources including a repository of the lecture notes used in class, a course syllabus, any other forms of course-specific materials as well as a discussion forum.

Transferable skills and personal qualities

During this course unit, you will be encouraged to develop the following abilities and skills:

  • Data collection and analysis skills;
  • An ability to relate theoretical argument with empirical evidence, including the construction of theoretically informed research;
  • Awareness of economic development issues and your responsibility as a global citizen.

Assessment methods

A two hour unseen examination in January with essay-style questions (60%) and a 2,500 words coursework essay (40%).


Coursework Assignment:

“Using the various economic geography theories we have covered in this course, provide a rigorous explanation of the economic development path of a region of your choice.”

Further information and guidance will be provided in lectures, and also through the Blackboard site and in the seminars.

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided in the following ways during this course unit:

·         extensive verbal feedback through Q&A, discussion and interactive activities within lectures and seminars;

·         verbal feedback on any course unit issue through consultation hours;

·         verbal feedback on exam performance through personal tutorials;

·         detailed written feedback on the coursework assignment

Recommended reading

·         Barnes, T.J., J. Peck and E. Sheppard (eds) (2012) The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Economic Geography. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. (Highly Recommended Reading).

·         Barnes, T.J., J. Peck, E. Sheppard and A. Tickell (eds) (2004) Reading Economic Geography Oxford: Blackwell.

·         Coe, N., P. Kelly and H.W.-c. Yeung (2013): Economic Geography. A Contemporary Introduction. 2nd Edition. Malden and Oxford: Blackwell. (Essential Reading) E-Text £ 24.99

·         Mackinnon, D. and A. Cumbers (2011) Introduction to Economic Geography. Globalization, Uneven Development and Place. 2nd edition. Edinburgh: Pearson. (Essential Reading) Paperback from £ 39.78

·         Hudson, R. (2005): Economic Geographies. London: Sage.

·         Lee, R., J. Wills (eds) (1997): Geographies of Economies. London: Arnold.

·         Mansvelt, J. (2005): Geographies of Consumption. London: Sage.

·         Scott, A.J. (2013): A World in Emergence. Cities and Regions in the 21st Century. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. (Highly Recommended Reading).

·         Wood, A. and Roberts, S. (2011) Economic Geography. Places, Networks and Flows. London and New York: Routledge.


Key Journals:

·         Economic Geography

·         Environment & Planning

·         Geoforum

·         Journal of Economic Geography

·         Progress in Human Geography

·         Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

·         Urban Studies

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Martin Hess Unit coordinator

Additional notes



Comprises of Lectures and Seminars. Please refer to course content information for further details.

Return to course details