IR454      Half Unit
Governing International Political Economy: Lessons from the Past for the Future

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr James Morrison CBG.8.06


This course is available on the MSc in Financial History, MSc in International Political Economy, MSc in International Political Economy (LSE and Sciences Po) and MSc in International Political Economy (Research). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

All students are required to obtain permission from the Teacher Responsible by completing the online application form linked to course selection on LSE for You. Admission is not guaranteed.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access) and demand is typically high.

Course content

History has always been central to the study and practice of international political economy. The field's most influential scholars and practitioners have repeatedly turned to history both to explain, and to offer a fresh perspective on, the great challenges of their times. This course is designed to help students cultivate that invaluable skill and habit of mind.

Tracing the evolution of the global political-economic order across the last several centuries, this course examines:

- canonical theorists' particular treatments of international political economy.

the on-going, timeless debate between these theorists.

the major shifts in the global political-economic order.

the interaction between theories and policy shifts.

A number of important questions will be considered, including:

- What role do ideas play in international relations?

To what extent can individual actors shape the global political-economic order?

Do circumstances determine which ideas and which leaders come to the fore? Or do men and women make their own history?

What does this history reveal that might help us to shape international politics today and in the future?


This course considers international order from the standpoint of both international security and international political economy. It will appeal to students who want to delve deeper into the history and evolution of the international system.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of lectures in the AT.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce an essay and deliver an in-class presentation.

Indicative reading

Keynes, JM. The Economic Consequences of the Peace.

Marx, Karl. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon.

Angell, Norman. The Great Illusion.

Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism.


Essay (100%, 2500 words) in the WT.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2022/23: 32

Average class size 2022/23: 16

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication