economic geographies

economic geographies


Question: “The observаtion thаt contemрorary capitalism comes in different ‘varieties’ (liberal, coordinated, etc.) may be a useful starting point, but a geographical approach must pay attention to connections and interrelationships as well as to enduring spatial differences. For these reasons, it is more appropriate to think in terms of uneven and dynamic processes of ‘variegation’ than it is to rely upon categorical types or static varieties.” With reference to examples as well as to relevant academic literature, critically evaluate this contention.


12 point font with standard margins, approximately 2,500 words. This must be followed by a bibliography (additional to the 8 page limit for the main text), listing all academic sources referred to in the text presented (strictly) in the citation style used in this syllabus. (Web references should be kept to an absolute minimum; please focus on academic articles and books.)
facility in summarizing, applying, and critically evaluating key concepts (50%); range and depth of examples and illustrations used (30%); overall presentation, including structure of argument, quality of writing, and bibliographic referencing (20%).

More Info:

All students are required to complete a case-study project as an essential component of the course. The project entails an individual study, taking the form of a critical examination of a local, regional, or global development issue of your own choosing, but related to the central themes and concerns of the course. Think of the case-study projects as an in-depth literature review (and commentary) on a focused topic of your choice. Guidance on the selection of appropriate case-study projects will be provided in class, but an indicative list of topics include: “back office” economy of Dublin; high-tech development in Bangalore; financial services in Shanghai; creative industries in Toronto; geographies of the credit crunch; welfare reform in British Columbia; global production chains in auto manufacture; labor markets in Silicon Valley; downsizing the automobile sector; the political economy of green-collar jobs; poverty-alleviation measures in Mexico; cross-border regional economies in South-East Asia or Eastern Europe.

Primary research is not expected, but effective case studies will review and critically evaluate empirical evidence from the research literature (primarily, academic books and journal articles; web resources should be used sparingly). Crucially, they will all incorporate some discussion of theoretical frameworks or key concepts examined in class (for example, the spatial division of labor; financialization; the creative class; hyper-globalization; the workfare state). The effectiveness with which these theoretical concerns are brought together, and integrated, with the empirical content of the case studies (the way in which “general” explanations are connected to “local” specificities, one might say) will be the primary criterion in the assessment and marking of projects. The selection of case-study topics is a matter for your discretion, but students are strongly advised to use the further readings from the lectures for one or more of the lectures as a point of departure or context for the case study. [Generally speaking, in contrast, it is not a good idea to come up with a topic and then try to connect this to the themes and issues in the course; work the other way around!] It is important also to take advantage of opportunities to discuss ideas for, and approaches to, the case-study projects with the instructor during office hours. With an initial idea in mind, conduct a preliminary literature scan, focusing on academic papers as discovered via Google Scholar (or similar online platforms, like the Web of Science). Focus on articles produced by geographers (and researchers in closely related fields, like urban planning, sociology). You may also consult the major academic journals in globalization studies and economic geography—such as Antipode, Economic Geography, Environment & Planning A, Geoforum, Geography Compass, Global Networks, the International Journal of Urban & Regional Research, the Journal of Economic Geography, and Regional Studies. If you do not find a reasonable range of academic articles on your chosen topic in your initial literature scan, revise the topic accordingly. Identifying a good selection of sources for your literature review is the first step towards producing an effective case study

The following format for the presentation of case-study reports must be strictly observed: They should comprise (a) a cover page, including title, name, email address, and a 150-200 word abstract (or summary) of the project; (b) up to 2 pages of supporting material, such as maps, tables, graphs, images; and (c) a one-page bibliography, including no fewer than 8 academic references (to journal articles or books), listed in Harvard format (follow the style for citing references used in this syllabus), listing all sources referred to in the text. You may also choose to add a section of specified further readings (primarily academic books, chapters in edited collections, and journal articles) not cited in the text. Keep web references to an absolute minimum; focus on academic sources. Case-study projects that do not meet these requirements are penalized.

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