Teaching plan for the course unit


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General information


Course unit name: Topics in Globalization

Course unit code: 570426

Academic year: 2017-2018

Coordinator: Aurelia Maņe Estrada

Department: Department of Economic History, Institutions and Policy and World Economy

Credits: 5

Single program: S



Estimated learning time

Total number of hours 125


Face-to-face learning activities



-  Lecture with practical component



Supervised project


Independent learning




Competences to be gained during study


— Capacity to analyse the international energy system with a historical-systemic perspective. 

— Capacity to understand and analyse the international relations generated by relationships through energy.

— Capacity to analyse data and information referring to energy issues.

— Capacity to understand the factors affecting energy transactions. 





Learning objectives


Referring to knowledge

This subject addresses international energy relations. The underlying idea is that the hegemonic energy model functions in relation to the mainstream model of development and growth, and that energy transactions take place when the energy models stops being adapted to the economic system. Therefore, the determiners of the energy model, beyond availability and access to energy sources, are dependent on the hegemonic economies and economic agents, the role of economies rich in natural resources within world economics and the degree of acceptance of each energy model. The objectives of the subject are the following: 

— To establish the relation between the evolution of world economics and its energy model. 
— To understand what is the international energy system.
— To establish the agents and interests that determine the governance structure of energy relations. 
— To define possible scenarios for a "new" geopolitics of energy.


Referring to abilities, skills

— To learn to interpret energy data, and to learn to disseminate sources of information and data.
— To learn to discuss issues related to energy relations.
— To establish cartographies of energy agents and interests at a global scale. 
— To apply a methodology of historical-systemic analysis to the geopolitics of renewable energies. 



Teaching blocks


1. Concepts on energy model and transition

*  This block provides the theoretical analytical framework for the subject. Following a brief review of different energy models through history, this first block provides a historical systemic vision of what is known as energy model and transition.

2. Internationalization of energy relations

*  This block analyses the creation, the implications of the international oil order and the elements that take part in the international governance structure. Three lines of reasoning are followed:

a) When do energy relations become international.
b) Which historical process led to the creation of present-day international energy industry.
c) Which is the governance structure of this industry.

This block explains the origins and governance structure of international oil industry. The final objective of the block is double:

a) To understand that the internationalization of energy relations is not a required event, but that it occurred due to a willingness to separate production from consumption areas, due to a certain historical process and the objective characteristics of oil.

b) To understand that from this industrialization derives a certain power relation (governance structure) that sets the price and quantity of energy goods.

3. The end of oil

*  This block analyses the end of oil from an economic point of view. A selection of texts of classical economists help students understand how the economicist, cost-based approach has been introduced in the estimates and the narrative of resource exhaustion.

The second part introduces the issue of the rents on subsoil assets affects the strategies for benefits of oil companies. This helps understand the role of oil and unconventional gas (fracking) play in contemporary international oil industry.

4. Oil-based economies and sovereign wealth funds

*  This block aims at understanding how the rotation between the energy and financial functions of oil, in the historical process of capitalist change from a productive to a financial economy, implies changes in the role OPEC oil economies play in the international arena.

First, oil economies and their problems are explained, to provide keys to the understanding of the complex relation between energy and financial oil in the system.

Lastly, sovereign wealth funds are discussed in a global world, and how they affect, weaken or strengthen national sovereignty of natural resource-rich nations.

5. Renewable energies and new energy scenarios

*  This is a round-up module to apply the developed conceptual framework to the proposals for energy transition to a renewable model. The objective is to define possible scenarios for a hypothetical new geopolitics of energy.



Teaching methods and general organization


The teaching method is related to the two objectives of the subject, to condense the intensive face-to-face teaching part of the subject in the first part of the semester, to complete assignments and practical work during the second part. A series of material, mainly reading, is proposed for students to prepare and comment in class or specific sessions.

Besides, to complete and encourage teaching activities, short practical assignments are scheduled to become familiar and work with statistics and reports of agencies, study centres and international energy companies.

At the end of the course, a brief presentation (oral or written) on the basis of the interpretation template built through the course.



Official assessment of learning outcomes



Examination-based assessment

Assessment is done through a final examination at the end of the course. The examination consists of the development of a topic as established by the lecturer. Students can consult all their material for this exam.

As an exception, if the lecturer considers that the submitted assignments and the participation in sessions of the course by the student provides enough evidence of positive learning outcomes, they can publish a provisional final grade. For this, it is compulsory to have attended class and actively participated in the sessions.

The Virtual Campus provides all the information required for following and assessing the subject.



Reading and study resources

Consulteu la disponibilitat a CERCABIB


Las referencias bibliográficas para el seguimiento de la asignatura se encuentran en el Campus Virtual.

  All bibliographical references are published in the Virtual Campus.