Dr Alistair Clark
Senior Lecturer in Politics

  • Email: alistair.clark@ncl.ac.uk
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 191 208 7922
  • Address: Room 1.39
    Politics Building
    40-42 Great North Road
    Newcastle University
    NE1 7RU

Introduction

Dr. Alistair Clark is Senior Lecturer in Politics. His research interests revolve around political parties, party organisation, electoral integrity and administration, political participation and urban/local politics. Related interests include: comparative party systems and small party challenges; devolved and British party politics; voting behaviour and electoral systems; and quantitative survey research. Alistair Clark’s doctoral research, entitled ‘Local Parties, Participation and Campaigning in Post-Devolution Scotland’, won the 2007 Political Studies Association Arthur McDougall Prize for Elections, Electoral Systems and Representation. His research has been funded by the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust.

Roles and Responsibilities

2012 - Politics PGR Director

2012- Member of the UK Political Studies Association Executive 

2011-   Member, School Research Committee

2009-  Deputy Editor, British Journal of Politics and International Relations

Qualifications

PG Certificate in Higher Education Teaching (PGCHET) (2009) Queen’s University Belfast

PhD (2006) Political Studies, University of Aberdeen

MRes (2003) Political Research, University of Aberdeen

MA (Hons) (2001) Politics and International Relations (First Class), University of Aberdeen

Previous positions

2007-2011: Lecturer in Political Science and Research Methods, School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast.

2005-2007: Research Fellow, Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham.

Memberships

2012-Present     Member, International Political Science Association (IPSA)

2010-Present     Fellow, Higher Education Academy

2009-Present     Member of Political Studies Association of Ireland (PSAI)

2007-Present     Member of PSA Italian Politics Specialist Group

2005-Present     Member of PSA Parliaments and Legislatures Specialist Group

2004-Present     Member of ECPR Standing Groups on Political Parties and Public Opinion and Voting Behaviour

2003-Present     Member of PSA Territorial Politics Specialist Group

2001-Present     Member of Political Studies Association, (PSA).

2001-Present     Member of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP) Specialist Group of PSA.

Honours and Awards

Nominated (2010) for the Political Studies Association of Ireland Teaching and Learning Prize 

Political Studies Association (2007) Arthur McDougall Prize for the best dissertation in Elections, Electoral Systems and Representation.

Research interests

Dr. Alistair Clark’s research interests revolve around electoral integrity and the quality of democracy, political parties, party organisation, political participation and urban/local politics. Related interests include: comparative party systems and small party challenges; devolved and British party politics; and voting behaviour and electoral systems. His research has been funded by the ESRC, the Nuffield Foundation and the Leverhulme Trust.

Current work

Dr. Clark’s research has focused around political parties and electoral politics, primarily at the local and regional level but also nationally. He is the author of Political Parties in the UK, published by Palgrave in 2012. His current work revolves around three strands.

Firstly, although often held up as a model of electoral integrity, recent controversies in Britain have suggested that this perception may not be wholly justified. Incidents casting doubt on the integrity of the electoral process have been evident across the UK, with one election court judge even likening the conduct and administration of postal voting in local elections to that of ‘a Banana republic’. The integrity of the electoral process can often be attributed in the first instance to issues around electoral administration. This research therefore assesses electoral integrity across Britain, examines the numerous challenges facing electoral administrators and highlights the potential consequences of these challenges for both public policy and electoral integrity in Britain and beyond.

Secondly, since devolution in 1999, the three main British parties – Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats – have produced different versions of their UK general election manifesto for Scotland, Wales and Britain more generally. With Dr. Lynn Bennie (Aberdeen), the research assesses how these different manifestos differ, asking what such intra-party variation means for party strategies and their abilities to adapt to constitutional change. Whether these circumstances challenge the idea of manifestos granting parties ‘mandates’ across the UK is also examined. Initial analyses suggest that party manifestos serve a broader range of purposes under the UK’s multi-level polity than hitherto recognised.

Thirdly, minor parties have been proving attractive options for increasing numbers of voters in many different countries. Dr. Clark’s research has examined the rise and relevance of minor parties in both British and Irish politics leading to a range of publications on these themes. With Dr. Liam Weeks (Cork/Macquarie, Australia), recent research is examined the role and party system effects of minor parties in the aftermath of Ireland’s 2011 ‘earthquake’ elections. This followed up a co-edited previous special issue of Irish Political Studies (2010) on these themes and resulted in a co-edited volume Radical or Redundant: Minor Parties in Irish Politics published in late 2012.                 

Future research

Developing and continuing interests in comparative electoral integrity and the quality of democracy, urban/local politics and elections and local policy responsiveness; party organisation and territorial politics.      

Esteem Indicators

Trustee & Executive Member, UK Political Studies Association  

Deputy Editor, British Journal of Politics and International Relations

Grant Reviewer and Rapporteur for Economic and Social Research Council

Member, Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Sciences Peer Review College

Accredited Election Observer, UK Electoral Commission

Academic referee for: Palgrave MacMillan;Pearson Education; Sage Publications; Party Politics; Electoral Studies, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies; Local Government Studies; Political Studies, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties; Politics and Policy; Representation; British Politics; Irish Political Studies; Politics; British Journal of Sociology    

2008-09 Convenor, EPOP Panels, PSA Annual Conference

2007-09 Convenor, PSA Local Politics Specialist Group

Political Studies Association (2007) Arthur McDougall Prize for the best dissertation in Elections, Electoral Systems and Representation.

UNDERGRADUATE

POL1017 European Political Systems (Module Leader)

POL3092 Political Parties and Elections in the UK (Module Leader)

POL3046/3047 Dissertation / Project

POL1017 Governing Under Pressure: The Politics of the UK and EU  

POL1047 Power, Participation and Democracy: Comparative Perspectives (Module Leader)