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School of Social Sciences

Student in the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons
BSocSc Politics and International Relations
Gain the skills to critical examine international and comparative politics.

BSocSc Politics and International Relations / Course details

Year of entry: 2018

Course unit details:
British Politics: Power and the State

Unit code POLI10401
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

Week 1: Introduction: Why Study British Politics?
Week 2: Understanding Power and the British State
Week 3: The Westminster model
Week 4: The Evolution of the Modern British State
Week 5: The Internal Challenge to the Modern British State: the New Right and Thatcherism
Week 6: The External Challenges to the Modern British State: Globalisation
Week 7: The External Challenges to the Modern British State: Europe
Week 8: Reconstituting the Modern British State
Week 9: 'Threats' to the Modern British State
Week 10/11: Crisis and Coalition: Where now for Britain in the Global Context?

Aims

This course explores the changing nature of political power in British politics overtime from both an internal and an external dimension. Traditional accounts of the nature of British politics have tended to view such debates through the perspective of the Westminster model, and in so doing offer a flawed account depicting Parliament as sovereign and power as being hermetically sealed within it. This course offers a more critical account by introducing students to a number of important contemporary conceptual frameworks - the British Political Tradition, macro-theories of the state, and multi-level governance. This provides the tool-kit to then explore the changing nature of power both overtime – focusing on the politics of the post-war consensus, Thatcherism, New Labour and the current Coalition, but also thematically through a nuanced understanding of globalisation, Europeanization, devolution, a democratic crisis, regulation, security etc.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, successful students will be able to demonstrate:
1) a clear understanding of key conceptual approaches to understanding political power;
2) an ability to apply these approaches to key themes within British politics;
3) the capacity to develop critical arguments, drawing on appropriate academic literatures about key case studies relating to British politics [internal and external] and how they have changed over time.

Syllabus

Course Content

Week 1: Introduction: Why Study British Politics? 
Week 2: Understanding Power and the British State 
Week 3: The Westminster model 
Week 4: The Evolution of the Modern British State 
Week 5: The Internal Challenge to the Modern British State: the New Right and Thatcherism 
Week 6: The External Challenges to the Modern British State: Globalisation 
Week 7: The External Challenges to the Modern British State: Europe 
Week 8: Reconstituting the Modern British State 
Week 9: 'Threats' to the Modern British State 
Week 10/11: Crisis and Coalition: Where now for Britain in the Global Context?

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught through two weekly one-hour lectures and a weekly one-hour seminar.

Assessment methods

Essay [2000 words] 40%

Exam [2 hr] 60%

Feedback methods

Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission.

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff

Recommended reading

Preliminary reading
Heffernan, R., Cowley, P. and Hay, C. (2011). Developments in British Politics 9. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Moran, M. (2005). Politics and Governance in the UK. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Hall, M. (2011). Political Traditions and UK Politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave
Richards, D. and Smith, M.J. (2002). Governance and Public Policy in the UK. Oxford. Oxford University Press

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 2
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
David Richards Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Information
Length of course: 12 weeks

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