Power in Britain

School: School of Government and Society
Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies

Final year module

Lecturer: Dr Stephen Bates

Bertrand Russell argued that "the fundamental concept in social science is power, in the same sense in which energy is the fundamental concept in physics". This module provides you with the opportunity to develop a sophisticated understanding of different theories of power and to undertake analyses of the distribution, sources, sites and relations of power in British society. It also offers you the opportunity to take a lead in investigating specific instances of power in Britain in which you have a particular interest.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student should be able to: 

  • Evaluate critically the main theories of power in Political Science.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the normative, meta-theoretical and methodological issues involved in analysing power.
  • Be able to utilise their knowledge of these theories and associated issues to provide theoretically informed analyses of the distribution, sites, sources and relations of power in the UK.
  • Present their research to their peers in a comprehensive and accessible manner. 


  • Term One: 1 x 2,000 word assessed work (35%)
  • Term Two: Presentation (15%)
  • Term Three: 1 x 3,000 word assessed work  (50%)

Related courses:

The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2017. We aim to publish any changes to compulsory modules and programme structure for 2018 entry by 01 September 2017 and recommend you refer back to this page shortly after that date for any changes. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules after that date; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.