CP0222: Political Geography: Place, Space and Power

School Cardiff School of Geography and Planning
Department Code GEOPL
Module Code CP0222
External Subject Code L723
Number of Credits 20
Level L5
Language of Delivery English
Module Leader Dr Richard Gale
Semester Spring Semester
Academic Year 2017/8

How the module will be assessed

Students will be assessed through two mechanisms. The first is a written essay, which will explore an in-depth case-study, drawing on core concepts explored in the first half of the module. Feedback on this will provide the students with an opportunity to develop their thoughts in their second assessment, an unseen written examination. The combination of essay and examination in this module is to ensure full student engagement with the module themes, in terms of both depth and breadth of theoretical and topical coverage. 

Type of assessment





(if applicable)

Approx. date of Assessment



Subject and titles to be defined within the module

2000 words





1.5 hours


If any students with disability are not able to participate fully in the group work, appropriate individual coursework will be set instead. 

How the module will be delivered

The module will be delivered through a combination of approaches, including: lectures, seminars, class debates and guided independent study.


Outline Description of Module

This module introduces political geography and explores how its key concepts of place, space and power interrelate in shaping contemporary life. We examine key theoretical and empirical issues lying at the core of political geography, including: the interface between politics and the spatiality of government; the rise of the state and its territoriality; the geographical interplay of ideas of national belonging and nationalism; the scalar politics of place; and the inter-state relations – ‘geopolitics’ – that create globally extensive geographies of power. The module is delivered through a combination of conceptual and case-study materials with the aim of dramatizing the relevance of political geography to contemporary global issues.

On completion of the module a student should be able to

  1. Reveal through verbal and written communication a thorough grounding in the conceptual and empirical issues prevailing in political geography.
  2. Express in detail the relationships between politics and geography, the politics of place and identity, and the nation-state-territory nexus.
  3. Draw on historical and contemporary materials to explain how political patterns and processes impact at various spatial scales, from the global to the local.

Skills that will be practised and developed

Whilst studying this module, students will practice and develop the following skills:

  1. Analytical skills: an ability to critique the conceptual ideas and empirical approaches that distinguish political geography from the political sciences and other fields of human geography.
  2. Group discussion: an ability to participate in informed discussion of key urban geographical concepts and case materials.
  3. Debating skills: an ability to engage in class debate in ways that reflect detailed understanding of key political geography themes.
  4. Written presentation of ideas: an ability to set out key ideas of the field in a coherent way, and to evaluate contending academic arguments.
  5. Responding to feedback: a capacity to take on board feed-back/-forward from the written assessment of the module and to build on these in the final examination.

Assessment Breakdown

Type % Title Duration(hrs) Period Week
Written Assessment 50 Coursework N/A 1 N/A
Examination - Spring Semester 50 Political Geography: Place, Space And Power 1.5 1 N/A

Essential Reading and Resource List

Agnew, J., Mitchell, K. and Toal, G. (Eds.) (2002) A Companion to Political Geography. Oxford: Blackwell.


Blacksell, M. (2006) Political Geography. London: Routledge.


Cox, K., Low, M. and Robinson, J. (2008) The Sage Handbook of Political Geography. London: Sage.


Painter, J. and Jeffrey, A. (2009) Political Geography: An Introduction to Space and Power. London: Sage.


Taylor, P. J. and Flint, C. (2011) Political Geography: World-Economy, Nation-State and Locality. Essex: Prentice Hall. Sixth Edition.

Background Reading and Resource List

Cox, K. (2002) Political Geography: Territory, State and Society. Oxford: Blackwell.


Gallaher, C., Dahlman, C., Gilmartin, M. and Mountz, A. (2009) Key Concepts in Political Geography. London: Sage.


Glassner, M. I. (1996) Political Geography. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Second Edition.


Jones, M., Jones, R. and Woods, M. (2004) An Introduction to Political Geography. London: Routledge.


Muir, R. (1997) Political Geography: An Introduction. London: Macmillan.

Syllabus content

The module begins with the main theoretical and foundational concepts of space, power and territoriality; globalisation, geographical scales and the state; identity, place and difference. Thereafter, we move on to empirically grounded applications of these concepts through engagement with particular case-studies. These cases are organised according to the different spatial scales to which they relate, from the politics of neighbourhood and place attachment, through city governance and urban movements to nation-state relations and ‘realpolitik’. However, a key concern of the module is to instil an understanding of how the politics that relate to different spatial scales are often mutually constitutive and reinforcing.

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