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British Politics (Module)

Module description

Please note that module information is indicative and may change year to year.

This module will introduce the different issues and debates that shape contemporary British politics. It is particularly useful for those students who have not studied British politics before. The module will explore and describe the British political system, focusing on the role and functions of the main institutions of government, such as the executive and parliament, and key actors such as political parties. In the module we will discuss contemporary challenges for the British state, such as: past and on-going constitutional reforms, the changing party system, the changing role of the prime minister, the role of women in British politics, the UK’s relationship with the European Union, and devolution.

Module aims

  • Evaluate the changing character of democracy in the UK.
  • Assess the British political system in comparative perspective.
  • Develop an understanding of theoretical explanations for political outcomes in Britain.
  • Examine the primary institutions of the UK political system – parliament, the executive, the civil service, regional and local government, etc.
  • Understand the nature of Britain’s multiple, or multi-level, party system and consider why certain parties continue to prosper despite failing to gain seats in Westminster.
  • Assess patterns of voting behaviour and explore different theories that explain electoral outcomes.
  • Examine changing forms of political participation and the rise of anti-political attitudes among the British electorate.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to demonstrate the intellectual, transferable and practicable skills appropriate to a Level 4 module and in particular will be able to demonstrate:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with the contemporary issues surrounding British Politics
  • Begin to identify the strengths and weaknesses of different academic theories and approaches to key issues
  • Describe the key structures, actors and debates central to the British Political System and the politics of British policy making
  • Interpret these with direction using different theoretical approaches.
  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of the historical and contemporary development of British politics since the second world war

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

2-hours per week

Module assessment - more information

One 1500 word essay (15%) and one 2000 word essay (85%)

Key information

Module code 4AAOB101

Credit level 4

Assessment coursework

Credit value 15

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module Yes