Our teaching

We teach courses, and provide guest lectures, seminars and workshops, in many subject areas from business to sociology.

Undergraduate course units

Alternative Economies: Ordinary Economies

This course takes a critical look at diverse and alternative forms of economy, exploring the changing landscape of contemporary consumption and production.  This includes considering: 

  • Theories of diverse economies and modes of provision
  • The political economy of the household
  • Community economies, neoliberal policy and activism
  • Illicit economies
  • Cultural and creative economies
  • Sharing economies, collaborative consumption and communing
  • Circular economies, prosumption and ‘slow consumption’

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Environmental Politics

This course unit will introduce you to some of the key historical, theoretical and practical dimensions of environmental politics and policy. It explores:

  • challenges posed by environmental issues to political institutions
  • connections between local and global environmental issues
  • power relationships between developed and developing countries, and between social groups within political communities
  • the political nature of environmental problems and controversies
  • the diverse historical, political, and cultural roots of contemporary environmental problems and controversies
  • the various strategies and tactics used for environmental advocacy and change.

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Global Social Challenges

This course will introduce students to a range of current social issues affecting human society on a large scale, such as: 

  • Inequalities in a Global Age
  • The Corporation in Global Society
  • Climate Change and Capitalism
  • Sustainable Development in an Unequal World
  • Population Ageing as a Global Challenge
  • Global Protest

Students will discover a sociological approach to major social challenges through emphases on:

  • Understanding pressing social problems through reference to their social and cultural dimensions.
  • Analysing competing explanations for contemporary global social issues.
  • Assessing potential solutions to contemporary social challenges in relation to the ways in which they are embedded in society and culture.

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Politics of Climate Change

This course will discuss the dynamics of climate change politics. Climate change is both one of the most significant consequences of and challenges for contemporary politics. We explore climate politics through three distinctive framings of what type of problem it is: as a collective action problem; a problem of complexity; and a problem of capitalism. These frames are used to generate the focus in the second part of the course on a set of specific themes in climate change politics.

The course is also designed to develop your research skills. Correspondingly, the first part of the course will outline these three ways of understanding climate change as a problem, while the second will enable you to explore, individually and in small groups, a particular theme in climate change politics in detail.

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Sustainability, Consumption and Global Responsibilities

Sustainability is one of the most challenging and important issues of our time. It relates to numerous issues affecting the very future of humankind, including:

  • climate change
  • economic growth
  • global inequalities and social justice
  • the depletion of natural resources.

These concerns are currently being addressed in debates about the nature, necessity and possibility of sustainable consumption, and so this course will introduce you to the ways in which consumers, businesses and governments are responding to these challenges.

Through research articles, case studies, web resources and real-world initiatives, you will study several topics including:

  • consumer culture
  • fair trade
  • food systems
  • global commodity chains
  • political consumption.

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Sustainable Business in Society

Society is facing a number of pressing “grand challenges” including climate change, dwindling biodiversity and resource depletion, poverty, environmental pollution, malnutrition, and obesity.  Many business leaders already recognise that commercial organisations must play a key role in addressing these problems. In this context successful managers are moving beyond the mindset of limiting harm and managing risk, to proactively driving the adoption of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible products, services and practices within and beyond their own organisations. This re-imagining of the role of business requires knowledge of novel conceptual frameworks to better understand the connections between firm strategies, intra-industry relationships, business model innovation and longer-term socio-technical transitions to more sustainable societies. The course draws on the range of world-class sustainability expertise at AMBS to introduce and develop cutting edge ideas and research toward the development of advanced knowledge in sustainability.

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Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Global South

Sustainability is one of the most challenging and important issues of our time. In fact, sustainable consumption and production (SCP) is one of the key sustainable development goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations (UN).

How we consume resources across societies - for example, how water, energy and food is provisioned within homes and cities - shapes the both economic growth and the depletion of natural resources. SCP is also linked to inequalities in wellbeing, social justice and gender.

Countries in the global south face specific challenges in addressing SCP. These challenges are often linked to the specific histories of development, such as:

  • legacies of colonialism and modernity
  • the unevenness of economic, political and infrastructural development.

To understand SCP in the global south, we need to engage with historical and everyday geographies, and political ecology perspectives, to reflect on the ways in which historical legacies, everyday lives, and resource systems influence the dynamics of SCP.

This module explores these issues using the topics of water, energy, food and shopping, focusing on how they are expressed in countries such as China, India and Brazil.

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Watch the video

Josephine Mylan, course unit leader of Innovation for a Sustainable Society, introduces her study area.

Taught master's course units

Critical Environmental Politics

This course will introduce you to the study of environmental politics in the contemporary world. It covers some of the most important challenges facing human societies, including climate change, biodiversity loss, resource scarcity, and unsustainable consumption. It also explores some of the concepts, frameworks and discourses that environmental theorists have used to understand and explain these issues, including political ecology, ecofeminism, biopolitics, the Anthropocene, colonialism, (un)sustainability, risk society, and environmental justice.

The central challenges of the course will include exploring the relationships between society and environments/nature in contemporary politics, and the role of individuals, communities, movements, NGOs, elites, corporations, political parties, states and international institutions in responding to environmental crises.

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Innovating for Sustainability

Innovation provides the basis for corporate efficiency, profitability and national wealth. It can enhance our quality of life (living and working conditions, health and communications) and protect the environment. This course unit explores the nature, determinants and consequences of innovation for environmental sustainability. It focuses on the strategic challenges facing firms with respect to eco-innovation, and assesses how successful firms have overcome them. Drawing upon interdisciplinary theoretical approaches and empirical research, some of which has been undertaken at MIoIR, it explores the key issues that inform our understanding of eco-innovation, innovation for sustainable consumption, and sustainability transitions, and assesses the methods, tools and techniques firms use to embed sustainability into their innovation strategy.

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Politics of Global Climate Change

This course will discuss the dynamics of climate change politics. Climate change is both one of the most significant consequences of and challenges for contemporary politics. We explore climate politics primarily through a political economy lens, focused on the dynamics of capitalism, but explore the limits of this lens in particular in relation to questions of culture and everyday life, the role of the state, and international cooperation. The course is organised sequentially to get you to think about three distinct questions about climate change politics: the political-economic origins of climate change; the political economy of responses to climate change; and the sort of transformational politics that thinking about the future in a climate-changed world entails.

The course is also designed to develop your research skills. The principal piece of assessment is a substantial research-based essay,

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Research Methods

This course unit will provide you with practical training in management research and improve your understanding of the key issues and debates surrounding research in management.

You will become familiar with the choices you must make at each step of the research process, and learn how to develop strong arguments for your choices.

The course unit will focus particularly on research in innovation management and entrepreneurship studies.

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Sociology of Consumption

This course unit studies the emergence and development of the sociology of consumption, a key sub-discipline within sociology.

You will examine key theoretical texts and recent research in the field, including themes such as:

  • consumer politics
  • critiques of consumerism
  • cultural theory
  • material culture
  • political economy
  • stratification and taste
  • sustainable consumption.

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Sustainable and Responsible Business

This course unit explores how businesses can maximise the environmental and social value generated.

You will be introduced to key conceptual frameworks and management tools used to identify the environmental and social issues facing organisations, and to develop more sustainable business solutions.

We will use real-world cases to build your knowledge of organisational challenges, competitive rewards and influence of the wider business environment on the development, implementation, and reporting of sustainable and responsible business practice. Through group and individual projects, you will learn how to devise and effectively communicate strategy and rationale for sustainable business, both within organisations and to the broader community. You will also be encouraged to reflect upon your role in promoting environmentally and socially sustainable management.

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