CP0211: Spaces of Production: Economic Geography

School Cardiff School of Geography and Planning
Department Code GEOPL
Module Code CP0211
External Subject Code L721
Number of Credits 20
Level L5
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Dr Crispian Fuller
Semester Autumn Semester
Academic Year 2017/8

How the module will be assessed

Central to this module is the development of students’ ability to describe, define, understand and critically evaluate key theories and debates in economic geography and explore their empirical relevance. They are assessed through written methods but there is room for flexibility here by setting alternative, comparable assessments.


This module will be assessed by two pieces of written coursework each of which will constitute 50% of the final assessment.


The first assessment consists of a piece of written work exploring on a debate around one of the key concepts in economic geography with a case study industry as illustration (2,000 words).


The second assessment consists of an essay (2,000 words) 

Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment




2,000 words





2,000 words


How the module will be delivered

This module will be taught over one semester and is divided into topics, with each topic time-tabled for one week. Each topic has one two-hour lecture session in which theoretical ideas, key concepts and debates are introduced, explained and illustrated. There will also be regular one hour seminar sessions or interactive workshops, in which students explore and discuss the application of these ideas through small group discussions, video presentations and case studies. Compulsory guided reading associated with each topic will be provided to supplement and deepen the taught component. This will be met, in part, through the application of e-learning and interactive Learning Central software.

Outline Description of Module

This module is about the spatial dimensions of economic activity - i.e. why and where businesses create jobs and wealth, where people work and earn money, how and where firms create jobs and wealth, and the role of the state in shaping the geographies of economies. The module primarily focuses on analysing manufacturing and service sectors, using contemporary economic geography perspectives. It also considers the role of different actors (such as large transnational firms and governments) in shaping the geography of economic activity. The module uses lectures to introduce key analytical ideas, concepts and readings, and uses workshops and discussions to enable students to understand and explore these ideas in more detail.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

  • Define the concepts of production and production chains, and relate these to a range of different global industries.
  • Describe and critically examine contemporary theories of economic geography, and assess the relevance of these theories to a range of global industries.
  • Explain the growth and significance of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) in the global economy and evaluate the degree to which they are ‘placeless’ organisations.
  • Evaluate the role and potential for global and national regulation of TNCs.
  • Describe and critically compare the features of Fordist and post-Fordist production systems, and evaluate their value in understanding the global organisation and geography of production in contemporary economies.
  • Understand contemporary theories of flexible production, clusters and the creative industries and relate these to understanding the phenomenon of industrial clusters.
  • Understand and critically examine the changing nature of employment;
  • Understand the social and economic consequences of uneven economic geographies, with reference to global and UK inequalities.
  • Critically evaluate the role of government in influencing economic geographies. 

Skills that will be practised and developed


  • Use theoretical propositions to guide the collection of case study material and data relating to the geography of economic activity
  • Use case study material and data to explore, illustrate and test theoretical propositions.
  • Read and understand intermediate level economic and geographical arguments about economic geography and explain them to others.
  • Lead small group discussions, using theoretical ideas, policy issues and interpreting evidence.



  • handle conceptual and factual material through both oral and written forms;
  • write clearly and competently, and to make reflective comments upon topics learned;
  • use library, internet  and a virtual learning environment (Learning Central) effectively to extend the insights given in lectures;
  • participate in small group discussions and debate relevant theoretical, empirical and policy issues.



  • Develop reasoned arguments, both orally and in written form, and demonstrate the ability to critically assess and evaluate evidence and claims;
  • understand that markets create wealth and can redistribute resources progressively (particularly over time) as well as generating social costs and increasing inequality;
  • understand the role that governments can play in redistributing wealth and resources, as well as reducing social costs and inequalities;
  • understand that the geography of economies can be significantly shaped by the self-interest of key players, including governments;
  • understand how different viewpoints and ideologies can influence both theoretical and empirical analyses of the geography of economic activity. 

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50 Essay N/A 1 N/A
Written Assessment 50 Essay N/A 1 N/A

Essential Reading and Resource List

Core Texts:


Coe, N., Kelly, P. and Wai-chung Yeung, H. (2007) Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction, Blackwell: Oxford.


Mackinnon, D. and Cumbers, A. (2014) An Introduction to Economic Geography: Globalization, Uneven Development and Place, Second Edition; Prentice Hall: London.


Dicken, P. (2010) Global Shift: Mapping the Changing Contours of the World Economy. Sixth Edition, Sage: London.

Background Reading and Resource List

Supplementary Texts:


Clark, G., Feldman, M. and Gertler, M.S. (eds) (2000) A Handbook of Economic Geography. Oxford University Press, Oxford.


Coe, N.M. and Jones, A. (2010) (eds) The Economic Geography of the UK. Sage: London.


Huggins, R. and Thompson, P. (2017) Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness Contemporary Theories and Perspectives on Economic Development.  Elgar.


McCann, P (2016) The UK Regional–National Economic Problem Geography, globalisation and governance. Routledge


Pike, A., Rodrígues-Pose, A. and Tomaney, J. (2006) Local and Regional Development.  London: Routledge.




Please note that specific reading will also be given with each topic.

Syllabus content

The module is delivered through two hour lectures and one hour seminars.  The following topics are examined in the module:

  1. Introduction and overview of economic geography
  2. Commodity chains: Where does your breakfast come from?
  3. Transnational corporations (TNC’s): the primary ‘movers and shapers’ of the global economy
  4. Clustering of economic activity
  5. Geographies of finance
  6. Labour geographies
  7. The uneven role of creative/cultural industries in urban economies
  8. Alternative economic spaces
  9. Geographies of uneven development
  10. The state and economy

Copyright Cardiff University. Registered charity no. 1136855