ASTK15430U COURSE: Sex and Money: Gender in the global political economy

Volume 2017/2018

Master students: 7.5 ECTS

Bachelor students: 10 ECTS


Elective in the "Specialization in International political economy"


This course grounds students in the intersection between gender analysis and the international economy. Thus, the course has a theoretical and practical focus, and students will become adept in both dimensions. It covers both the theoretical precepts of gendered and feminist analyses, and a detailed examination of the empirical aspects of gender in the economy. The theoretical section is structured according to the so-called ‘four waves’ of feminist theory, which provides a historiography of different perspectives on what it means to offer a gendered critique of society. The ‘empirical’ section constitutes the bulk of the course, and is structured into three blocks of three sessions each, considering the interlinked dimensions of: the economics of gender in the private sphere and the home, in business and the private sector, and in international politics and governance.  

The course is broadly structured in terms of its subject matter, and collectively, these topics will equip participants with a good grasp of the empirical aspects of the international economy and the role of men and women within it. As such the course should be of general interest to students of International Political Economy (IPE) and cognate disciplines. Although the readings unavoidably focus on feminist literature (as the primary source of gender critique), it should be noted that the focus is on gender more broadly, encompassing both masculinity and femininity, and the course is both open and relevant to students interested in gender from any perspective.  Moreover it is very much designed to be critical, and to encourage students to question the material we encounter.



Course week







First and Second wave feminism


Third and fourth wave feminism


Masculinities and current issues


The body

Analysis 1: The body and the private sphere


The politics of the household


Social reproduction


Production: global value chains

Analysis 2. Gender and business


Consumption: the beauty industry


Transnational Sex economy


Finance and gender

Analysis 3. The international politics of gender


International advocacy




Gendering economics


Learning Outcome

Demonstrate a sound grasp of the theoretical history of feminism

Display a clear understanding of how gender influences IPE and economics

Be able to use gender as a tool for analysing contemporary economic and social problems

Offer empirically founded insights into the role of gender in the contemporary economy

By the end of the course, students will have a sound understanding of the ways in which gender affects analysis of the international economy. As the course focuses on both conceptual analysis using the tools of gender, and the empirical analysis of gender in the economy, students will gain both theoretical and practical knowledge in addition to analytical skills. The course would fit will into an overall course of study in IPE (including the department’s IPE specialisation, which runs in the Spring semester) but more broadly into any course of study featuring political, economic or sociological concerns. The broader relevance of the topic extends widely across society, and as a result, students may find it useful in careers within government or NGOs particularly but the insights will prove relevant across a range of potential destinations.

Weekly readings (the ‘pensum’) will be provided closer to the start of the course, and will heavily emphasise journal articles for the nine-week block focussing on empirical and analytical issues. The theoretical section however provides an overview of feminist perspectives, which includes some classic texts. For the purposes of the pensum specific chapters will be advised, but students may like to acquaint themselves more generally with the topics in advance. These include:


Beauvoir, Simone de. 2011. The Second Sex. Translated by Constance Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. 1 edition. New York: Vintage.

Butler, Judith. 2007. Gender Trouble, Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. 2. ed., reprint. Routledge Classics. Routledge.

Connell, R. W. 2005. Masculinities. Polity.

Hooks, Bell. 2014. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Routledge.


Wolf, Naomi. 2002. The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. Reprint. New York: Harper Perennial.

Griffin, Penny. "Gendering Global Finance: Crisis, Masculinity, and Responsibility." Men and Masculinities 16 (1) (2013): 9-34. [26]

Prügl, Elisabeth 2012: “What if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters...“: Gender and Myth in the Aftermath of the Financial Crisis, International Political Sociology : 21-35. [15]

Spike Peterson.. "Rewriting (Global) Political Economy as Reproductive, Productive, and Virtual (Foucauldian) Economies." International Feminist Journal of Politics 4 (1) (2002): 1-30. [30]


Students may also enjoy some of the following blogs and news sources:





Some prior background in a humanities or social science subject would be an advantage, although particular knowledge of politics or economics is not necessary. Students with backgrounds in history, sociology, linguistics and so on should also find themselves well able to contribute.
A range of instruction methods will be used, including mini lectures and class activities, but throughout there will be a strong focus on interactive and critical engagement from participants.
The course will be delivered in English by all three staff members.
The course is taught over 14 weeks (a full semester module).
The course is assessed via synopsis (oral) exam.
Workload scheme
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Total
  • 28
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Oral exam
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner