Contemporary Themes and Issues in British Politics

Modular value: 20 credits
Duration: Term 2
Teaching: 1 x 2 hour seminar per week

Lecturers: Colin Thain, Peter KerrEmma Foster

This module examines the complex and constantly changing relationship between political parties, the British state and broader governance strategies in the UK over the past three decades. As well as introducing students to broad trends in UK politics, the module looks at the role of key actors and institutions in generating both change and continuity under respective Conservative, Labour and Coalition governments.

The module will examine contemporary approaches to explaining change and continuity as well as utilising case study examples to look at specific changes in particular policy areas, including: macro-economic policy, international development, environmental regulation and sports policy.

Overall, the module will explore the ways in which changing party dynamics, ideological approaches, discourses, central state relationships and governance patterns have impacted on the priorities, policies and governing style of successive UK governments. 

The module aims:

  • To familiarise students with key trends, themes and issues in contemporary British governance, party politics, the role of the state and policy making;
  •  To examine competing approaches to explaining change and continuity in contemporary UK politics;
  • To develop an understanding of the dynamic relationship between party change, institutional change and policy formation in the UK;
  • To explore the changing relationship between contemporary patterns of UK and international governance.


  • 1 x 5000 word research project

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