Political Science (POLI) 383

Canadian Political Economy in a Global Era (Revision 2)

POLI 383 cover

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Social Science

Prerequisite: Students who have taken a course in Canadian history, political science, economics, or sociology may find the material easier to master.

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences

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POLI 383 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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Political Science 383: Canadian Political Economy in a Global Era is designed for those students who wish to improve their understanding of the development of the capitalist system in Canada, its insertion into an increasingly global economy, and the political problems and choices that result. The course addresses these important questions:

  • Why, for example, did free trade become such an important issue in the 1980s? Deficits in the 1990s?
  • Why is there more unemployment in some regions of Canada than in others?
  • Why did a vigorous anti-globalization movement arise, only to decline after the events of September 11th, 2001?

While to many people these are solely economic questions, it is the fundamental premise of this course that economics cannot be divorced from politics—the two are intertwined inextricably. How economics and politics are interrelated is a subject of considerable debate, one that will be examined closely in this course.

The above are some of the questions that this course addresses. Below are a few more:

  • What is political economy?
  • What role has the Canadian state played in Canada’s economic development?
  • What impact have new technologies and the growth of global markets and production relations had on Canada’s political economy and the Canadian state?


  • Unit 1: What is Political Economy?
  • Unit 2: Theories of Political Economy
  • Unit 3: The Formation and Characteristics of the Canadian State and Its Role in Economic Development
  • Unit 4: Labour and Capital in Canada
  • Unit 5: Further Political Economies of Inequality: Gender, First Nations, and Region
  • Unit 6: The Era of Globalization
  • Unit 7: Paradigm Shift: From State to Market?
  • Unit 8: A Global Framework
  • Unit 9: Globalization, Institutionalism, Policies, and Alternatives


Your final grade will be based on your performance on three written assignments and a final exam. Keep in mind that you must complete and submit the essay assignments for grading before you write the final exam. To receive credit you must achieve a grade of at least “50 per cent” on the final exam and an overall course grade of at least “D” (50 percent). The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Assignment 1: Short Essay 10%
Assignment 2: Research Essay Proposal 20%
Assignment 3: Research Essay 40%
Final Exam 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Howlett, Michael, Alex Netherton, and M. Ramesh. 1999. The Political Economy of Canada: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press.

McBride, Stephen. 2005. Paradigm Shift: Globalization and the Canadian State. 2nd ed. Halifax: Fernwood Publishers.

Other materials

The course materials include a study guide, student manual, and a reading file.

Challenge for Credit Course Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows students to demonstrate that they have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university level course.

Full information for the Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the POLI 383 challenge registration, you must achieve a grade of at least “D” (50 percent) on the examination.

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, March 7, 2008.

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Updated May 26 2016 by SAS