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POL2045 : British Politics: State and Society

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nick Randall
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


The module aims to explore the interplay of the UK state and society by analysing key features of the context within which British politics is situated. It will examine key economic, social and ideational institutions and relationships, analyse major trends in relation to these and relate them to both government policies and central bodies of contemporary social theory.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics to be covered could include:

1.       Introduction to the module
2.       Theories of British Politics: The Westminster Model and Beyond
3.       The Changing Character of the British State
4.       Parties, State and Society: The Rise and Fall of the ‘Postwar Consensus’
5.       Parties, State and Society: The Rise and Fall(?) of Neoliberalism
6.       The UK State and the Performance of the UK Economy
7.       The UK State and the Power of Organised Labour
8.       The UK State and the Power of Business
9.       Class and UK Politics.
10.       Gender and UK Politics
11.       The Politics of ‘Race’ and Ethnicity in the UK
12.       The ‘Troubles’ and ‘Peace’ in Northern Ireland
13. Nationalist challenges to the UK State
14. Civil Liberties and UK Politics
15.       The Media and UK Politics
16.       Britain’s World Role: Losing an Empire? Finding a Role?
17.       Britain’s World Role: The Anglo-American Relationship
18.       Britain’s World Role: Europe and Brexit – The Return or the End of UK Politics?
19.       Leading the UK State
20.       Structure and Agency in British politics

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials221:0022:00Pre-recorded lecture materials
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00Present in person seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1156:00156:00Seminar participation; assessment preparation and completion.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk111:0011:00Present in person Q&A topic review with ML
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The pre-recorded video content introduces students to the key features of the economic, social, ideational and international contexts of British politics. In addition, they serve to outline and illustrate the principal concepts and theories available in understanding these contexts.

The present in person seminars provide an environment in which students can explore their understanding of, and offer critical evaluation of these empirical, conceptual, and theoretical issues.

The one hour topic review provides students with the opportunity to ask questions on a specific topic and the module leader may also use the time to expand upon and clarify material on that topic.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination991M50Take home exam (48 hour), 2000 words.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The 48 hour take home examination will assess the students understanding of, and ability to critically evaluate, in time limited conditions, the key ideas, concepts and theories and empirical material of the course across the entirety of the curriculum. The time limited character of this assessment fosters and evaluates the skills that students may be expected to possess in the graduate workplace. The 2000 word essay will provide an opportunity for students to explore one of the topics in greater depth. It will assess the student’s ability to place and synthesise the material gained from recorded lecture material, seminars and independent reading in appropriate contexts and their ability to critically and succinctly evaluate the ideas, concepts and theories introduced in lectures and explored in seminars.

Reading Lists