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Contemporary British Politics


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 5
  • Convenor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 1500-2000-word essay (90%) and 500-word seminar log (10%)

Module description

In this module you will gain an understanding of British politics and government, its key institutions and actors, and the main issues of controversy and contestation.

We will examine five principal areas: the context of contemporary British politics; the main institutions and processes of government and the state; democratic participation and representation through political parties and other vehicles; the political behaviour of citizens and groups; and the political future of the United Kingdom in an increasingly globalised world.

Throughout the module you will be encouraged and expected to apply explanatory and normative political science approaches to the topics under investigation.

Indicative syllabus

  • The Westminster Model and British politics
  • The constitution and rules of the game
  • Voting, elections and referendums
  • House of Commons and House of Lords
  • Devolution in Britain: Scotland and Wales; Northern Ireland
  • The Core Executive
  • Local government
  • Political parties
  • The UK and the world
  • The future of British politics

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be familiar with the main theories and models applied in the study of British politics and government, their ambitions, achievements and limitations
  • have a good understanding of British political institutions and processes, and how they relate to one another
  • have developed a critical approach to current debates and issues in British politics
  • have developed practical skills of communication, evaluating and analysing argument
  • have developed transferable skills, including critical evaluation, analytical investigation, written presentation and oral communication.