The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2019

Course handbook


This course concentrates on the ways in which social change happens at the global level and explores how different societies are influenced and challenged by such changes. It provides students with key insights into the nature and future of capitalist globalisation for social justice and development. Topics and methods are drawn from the disciplines of sociology, economics, political economy, politics and geography. Students analyse the consequences of major capitalist processes (such as commodification, commercialisation, neoliberalism, financialisation) for human development and the role of powerful agents like international organisations, corporations, and states. Students will explore the root causes of new global risks and crises (such as global inequality, global poverty, global financial crises, conflicts, and the violation of human rights, democratic deficit, and environmental degradations) and work towards the proposition of progressive alternatives to promote social equality, ecological sustainability, and economic democracy .

Availability2019 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2019


  • Semester 1 - 2019

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Evaluate major capitalist processes and transformations

2. Apply analytical frameworks to research major social and ecological problems caused by the expansion of capitalist relations.

3. Identify the effects of capitalist globalisation on economic growth, income distribution, poverty, education, health, social care, and the environment.

4. Critically evaluate neoliberal and post-neoliberal policy reforms and demystify myths about capitalism.

5. Examine post-capitalist alternative practices, systems, models and agendas.


This course will critically review the mainstream theories of capitalist globalisation in terms of their ability to explain social changes and their unprecedented challenges to human development, welfare, and rights.

Case studies from both the global North and global South are used to improve the capacity of students for analysing the socio-ecological consequences of capitalist globalisation for different communities. Key issues examined in this course are global crises (of food, fuel, and finance), climate change, conflicts and violence, global inequalities, immigration, health inequalities, and economic insecurity.

The course takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining perspectives from sociology, political science, welfare studies, international relations, geography, and cultural studies. Drawing upon critical interpretations of capitalist processes and the situated viewpoints of oppression and resistance among marginalised people, the course presents an alternative understanding of current global changes and the provision of progressive alternatives.

Topics include:

  1. Contested meanings of capitalist globalisation: Identifying the key issues, historical background and ideological dimensions;
  2. Effects of global change: Is human civilisation in decline?
  3. Theories of capitalist society and ideological discourses of development;
  4. Authoritarian capitalism, neoliberalism, austerity, free trade and economic liberalization;
  5. Welfare states and welfare democracy in the age of global uncertainties;
  6. The rising global divisions and disharmonies;
  7. Global nexus of inequality and poverty;
  8. Global challenges to economic/financial security;
  9. Global challenges to democracy: democratic and civil rights;
  10. Global challenges to health and wellbeing: global health, pandemics, pathologies of globalisation;
  11. Global environmental challenges: climate change, pollution, population movements, resources;
  12. Global challenges to security, peace, and human rights: terrorism, conflicts, cultural/religious clashes, and violence;
  13. The future of capitalism, and post-capitalist alternatives such as Commonism, eco-socialism, eco-feminism, economic democracy, social democracy, de-growth, universal base income cooperativism. 


This course replaces SOCA3420. If you have successfully completed SOCA3420 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

40 units of study at 1000 level

Assessment items

Quiz: 5 small weekly online or in-class quizzes (15%)

Written Assignment: Critical Commentary on Reading Materials (25%)

Case Study / Problem Based Learning: Case Study (20%)

Essay: Essay (40%)

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term