Study Abroad and Exchanges

Modules

Modules

POL3112 : Revitalising British Democracy

Semesters
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0

Aims

The aims in this module are to enable students:
1.       to reflect on the current state of democracy in Britain in particular with respect to legitimacy, accountability, engagement and participation, and trust;
2.       to critically examine explanatory and normative theories relevant to British democracy and the relationship between them;
3.       to critically evaluate the potential of democratic innovations to revitalize democracy in the UK;
4.       to synthesize these three elements

Outline Of Syllabus

The module explores the state of democracy in the UK from a citizens’ perspective. As highlighted by the 2016 EU membership referendum, many consider British democracy to be in crisis with growing levels of anti-political feelings, declining electoral turnout and party membership, and low levels of trust in institutions and politicians. This module starts with a consideration of problems with British democracy in theory and practice, and then moves to consider some potential solutions. In particular a range of democratic reforms and innovations, currently employed in, or proposed for, UK governance are critically reviewed. These innovations will be critically examined through a consideration of the work of the most important and influential contemporary democratic theorists, combined with a comparative consideration of supporting empirical evidence from across Britain and beyond. This will enable students to reflect upon the effects, viability and democratic potential of the varying democratic reforms and innovations to revitalize British democracy. Indicative topics include:
•       The British Democratic Malaise
•       Empirical Democratic Theory
•       Participatory Democracy
•       Deliberative Democracy
•       Democratic Innovations
•       Referendums in the UK
•       Participatory Budgeting in the UK
•       Mini-publics in the UK
•       E-Democracy in the UK
• The Future of British Democracy

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion1100:00100:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study164:0064:00N/A
Total200:00
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Student contact will primarily take place through a series of lectures and seminar classes, supported by engagement through the module’s virtual learning environment. The lectures introduce students to the key themes, cases, and related empirical evidence. There will be a requirement for independent study in terms of seminar preparation and the written assessments. A key focus will be placed on the encouragement of students to develop reading, writing and analytical skills through engagement with a variety of sources and academic texts relating to the subject area.

The exam will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate skills in research, critical analysis, judgment between different democratic innovations and democratic theories, writing, referencing and working autonomously. The case study article is aimed at developing academic and employability skills. In the course of selecting, researching, and writing up a case, method, or organization, students will learn about the substance of participation, finding secondary sources, and properly citing them. It will also provide an important formative context for the production of the exam where more extensive critical analysis will be expected.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Exams
Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50Essay style examination
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Case study2M502,000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam will provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate skills in research, critical analysis, judgment between different democratic innovations and democratic theories, writing, referencing and working autonomously. The case study article is aimed at developing academic and employability skills. In the course of selecting, researching, and writing up a case, method, or organization, students will learn about the substance of participation, finding secondary sources, and properly citing them. It will also provide an important formative context for the production of the exam where more extensive critical analysis will be expected.

Reading Lists

Timetable