Dr Karin Bottom


Lecturer in British Politics and Research Methods

Institute of Local Government Studies


Contact details

Institute of Local Government Studies
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


Dr Karin Bottom is a lecturer in British Politics and Research Methods at the Institute of Local Government Studies.

Feedback and office hours

Please contact by email to arrange a meeting.


PhD, Government (Manchester)

MA, Parties and Elections (Keele)

BSc, Politics and Psychology, Dual Honours (Keele)


Dr Karin Bottom  is a political scientist and has worked at INLOGOV since February 2007, formerly as a Research Fellow. Her core research areas revolve around political parties (particularly small), party systems and party theory.


  • Public Policy Research Methods (Graduate, INLOGOV)
  • Social Reoearch Methods 1 and 2 (Graduate, College of Social Sciences)
  • Making Policy (Graduate, INLOGOV)
  • Participation and Democracy (Graduate INLOGOV)
  • Questionnaire Design (Graduate, College of Social Science) 

Postgraduate supervision


Karin welcomes the opportunity to supervise in areas relating to parties (particularly small parties); party systems; elections; democracy; poltics outside the mainstream; British and comparative politics; multilevel governance


  • Abena Dadze Arthur.  ‘Made in the West adapted by the East – institutionalizing customer-centric public services in Abu Dhabi’.
  • Rebecca O’Neil.   ‘Evidence-based  policy making in the UK’.



  • Thom Oliver.  The politics of multi-level governance: Regional influence on MP's, MEP's and councillors (with Chris Skelcher INLOVOV). Pass Minor Corrections
  • Tania Garcia Chavez. Decentralisation as a strategy for building trust between police and citizens: a comparative analysis of Mexico, UK and Germany (with John Raine INLOGOV). Pass No Corrections.


Broadly spekaing, Dr Bottom's research focuses on various aspects of parties and party systems.

Her current work is three pronged and focuses on the following:

  • Directly Elected Mayors:  particularly their levels of politicisation and the impact they have  beyond the  immediate locality. Recently, Karin secured funding to  spend time at Goethe University Frankfurt working on this area with Dr Marion Reiser.
  • Small parties:  particularly their behaviour and impact. Karin is particularly interested in concepts of relevance and how they shape and are shaped by party behaviour.
  • Cartel theory: currently she  is investigating the factors which surround the role of the locality in party cartelisation.

Other activities

Other professional appointments

Dr Karin Bottom  is a member of the Political Studies Association’s (PSA) specialist-groups on: Elections and Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP) and Local Politics (formerly convenor). She is also a member of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR) standing groups on: Political Parties; Public Opinion and Voting Behaviour in a Comparative Perspective; Extremism and Democracy. She regularly presents work at a number of national and international conferences


Karin also has pending application for Associate Fellowship of the HE  Academy.


Book Chapters

Bottom, K.  Copus, C. (2011) ‘The BNP in local government: Support for the far-right or for community politics?,  N. Copsey and G. Macklin (eds.) New Perspectives on the BNP, Routledge.

Clark A. Colin Copus, C. and Bottom, K.  (2008) ‘Multi-party politics in England: small parties, independents, and political associations in English local politics’, M. Reiser, E. Holtmann,  Farewell to the party model? Independent local lists in east and west European countries, London Manchester: Urban and Regional Research International, 11, series editors, H. Wollmann,  H. Baldersheim, P. John, 553-276.

Peer reviewed articles

Bottom, K. Crow, A. (2011) ‘Mob rule? Two cases studies of how single-issue organisations  became the ruling party on council’, Local Government Studies, 37, (2): 219-241.

Bottom, K.   Copus, C. (2011 )‘Motivations for serving on council:  independents versus the mainstream’, Public Policy and Administration, (26) 279-305.

Clark, A. Bottom, K.  and Copus, C. (2008) ‘More similar than they would like to admit? Contemporary political ideologies and the rise of the British National Party and Respect in Britain’, British Politics, 3, (4): 511-534.

In review

Bottom K. Sloan, L. ‘A Tale of Three Boroughs - Electoral History and Minor Party Contestation in London’,  Local Government Studies, November 2013.

Bottom. K. Reiser, M. ‘Still want to party? An assessment of party politicisation in Directly Elected Mayoral authorities in England and Germany’s North-Rhine Westphalia’, for submission to Public Money and Management, special issue on directly elected mayors, December, 2013.

Recent Consultancy

With John Raine and John Cade, (2013),  Review,  Plymouth City Council Constitution.

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