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POL3053 : Political Leadership in Britain

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Nick Randall
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Questions of leadership are ubiquitous in British politics. Leaders are subject to ongoing commentary in print, broadcast and social media. Opinion polls routinely collect popular assessments of leaders, while valence politics renders attitudes towards political leaders increasingly electorally salient. The diaries, autobiographies, and biographies of leaders reach wide audiences. However, much of the discussion and assessment of leadership in Britain is insular and atheoretical. This module therefore aims to examine political leadership in Britain by reference to a range of theoretical debates in political science and kindred disciplines.

Outline Of Syllabus

Topics on the syllabus could include:
Applying classic perspectives to political leadership in Britain
Methodological perspectives on political leadership in Britain
Institutions and political leadership in Britain
The context of political leadership in Britain
Personality and political leadership in Britain
Psychological perspectives on political leadership in Britain
Beliefs and political leadership in Britain
Gender and political leadership in Britain
Rhetoric and political leadership in Britain
Performativity and political leadership in Britain
The image and marketing of political leaders in Britain
The media and leadership in Britain
The relationship between political leaders and followers in Britain
The electoral politics of leadership in Britain
British political leadership in times of crisis
Political leadership and British foreign policy
Ethics and political leadership in Britain

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 preparation; assessment preparation and completion.
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk111:0011:00Present-in-person Q&A/topic review with module leader
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The pre-recorded video content introduces students to the key features of the different approaches to leadership in British politics and the characteristics of post-war UK political leaders

The present in person seminars are designed to actively engage students in critical discussion of the core theoretical, conceptual, and empirical concerns of the module.

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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M502,000 words
Essay2M502,000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Students will complete two 2,000 word essays, each of which will account for 50% of the final mark for the module.

The first of these will analyse one individual leader in depth using the theories and concepts introduced and examined in the module.

The second essay will require students to select a theoretical approach to the study of political leadership. Students will then critically evaluate that perspective by applying it to several British political leaders studied in the module.

Reading Lists