Dr Stephen Bates


Lecturer in Political Science
BA Political Science Programme Director

Department of Political Science and International Studies

Stephen Bates

Contact details

Department of Political Science and International Studies
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


Stephen is a lecturer in political science. Before re-joining POLSIS in 2007, he was a research fellow  in the ESRC Centre for Social and Economic Research on Innovation in Genomics (Innogen) at the University of Edinburgh.

Feedback and office hours

Autumn Term: On study leave

Spring Term: Monday 3-4; Thursday 11-1


PhD Political Science (Birmingham)


I co-convene the second year course Political Analysis and convene the third year course Power in Britain and the masters course Advanced Political Analysis.

My research is at the intersection of British politics, governance research, and political sociology. At a theoretical level, my research focuses on conceptualising power, political agency and political change. This theoretical work has led to substantive empirical research in four main areas: Prime Minister’s Questions (which has appeared in The Guardian, The Financial Times  and on BBC Radio 4's Westminster Hour), the British parliamentary and extra-parliamentary left, the governance and regulation of the body, and the status of women in academia.

I am interested in supervising postgraduate research in the areas mentioned above, as well as related areas.



  • Political Analysis (POLS 201)
  • Power in Britain (POLS 306)
  • Advanced Political Analysis (G5)

I am also the BA Political Science Programme Director, the Programme Convenor for the MA in Political Science (Research Methods), and the Academic Contact for the POLSIS Undergraduate Lecture Series.

The POLSIS Undergraduate Lectures are organised by students for students. Past speakers have included the Rt Hon. Alistair Darling, Paul Mason (BBC's Newsnight), Prof. Howard Hotson (University of Oxford), and Prof. Emeritus Zygmunt Bauman (University of Leeds). If you would like to know more about this lecture series, or would like to join our organising committee (current POLSIS students only), please do not hesitate to email me.

Postgraduate supervision

Current doctoral supervision:

  • Liam Stanley (co-supervisor with Dr David Bailey) - The Everyday Politics of the Global Financial Crisis in the UK
  • Cherry Miller (co-supervisor with Dr Peter Kerr) - Gender, Power and Institutions: An Ethnographic- Investigation into the Performance of Masculinity in the House of Commons

Past supervision:

  • Fran Amery (co-supervisor with Dr Nicola Smith) - Abortion politics in the UK: Feminism, medicine and the state
  • Martin Monahan (co-supervisor with Dr Peter Kerr) - The Conservative Party and Social Justice Policy 1997–2010: An Historical Institutionalist Analysis
  • Mark Goodwin (co-supervisor with Dr Peter Kerr) - Education Governance and Policy Failure under New Labour


Research and academic interests

  • Power and political agency
  • The politics of the body
  • Prime Minister's Questions
  • The British parliamentary and extra-parliamentary left


Journal articles:

"(De)politicisation and the Father's Clause parliamentary debates" (with Laura Jenkins and Fran Amery), Policy and Politics, 42/2, (2014), pp.243-258.

"Questions to the Prime Minister: A Comparative Study of PMQs from Thatcher to Cameron", (with Peter Kerr, Christopher Byrne and Liam Stanley), Parliamentary Affairs, 67/2, (2014), pp.253-280 (As Lead Article and Editor's Choice, this article is freely available).

"Women in the Profession: The Composition of UK Political Science Departments by Sex", (with Laura Jenkins and Zoe Pflaeger), Politics, 32/3, (2012), pp.139-152.

"Struggle (or its absence) during the crisis: what power is left?", (with David Bailey), Journal of Political Power, 5/2, (2012), pp.195-216.

"Re-Structuring Power", Polity, 42/3, (2010), pp.352-376.

"‘How do we know it’s not been done yet?!’ Trust, trust building and regulation of stem cell research", (with W. Faulkner, S. Parry, S. Cunningham-Burley), Science & Public Policy, 37/9, (2010), pp.703-718

"Understanding Change in Political Analysis: On the Need to Bring Space into Theoretical Positions and Empirical Analyses", (with Nicola Smith), Political Studies Review, 6/2, (2008), pp.191-204.

"In Defence of Pluralism in the Teaching of Ontology and Epistemology: A Reply to Hay, Marsh and Furlong”, (with Laura Jenkins), Politics, 27/3, (2007), pp.208-211.

"Teaching and Learning Ontology and Epistemology in Political Science", (with Laura Jenkins), Politics, 27/1, (2007), pp.55-63. Also published in Special Virtual Issue on Learning and Teaching, Politics, (2013)

"Making Time for Change: On Temporal C.onceptualisations within Critical Realist Approaches to the Relationship between Structure and Agency", Sociology, 40/1, (2006), pp.143-161. Also published in Volume 4 of Olsen, W. (ed.) (2010) Realist Methodology (London: SAGE/Benchmarks in Social Research Methods).


"Essential scrutiny or a national embarrassment? Experts respond to the Hansard Society’s report on Prime Minister’s Questions”, Democratic Audit, (2014).

"The Social Dynamics of Public Engagement in Stem Cell Research", (with Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Wendy Faulkner and Sarah Parry), ESRC Genomics Network Policy Brief, (2007).

"Reflections on the Perils of Public Engagement", (with Sarah Cunningham-Burley, Wendy Faulkner and Sarah Parry), ESRC Genomics Network Newsletter, (2007).

"The Social Dynamics of Public Engagement in Stem Cell Research", (with Sarah Cunningham-Burley), The Genomics Policy & Research Forum for Members of the Scottish Parliament, (14th March 2007)


  • Prime Minister’s Questions

Media experience

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