My broad research interests lie in applying theories of social and political change to explain trends in British politics. To this end, I have attempted to build upon neo-evolutionary theories of institutional development and apply these to explain the trajectory of the British state and public policy since 1945. This work attempts to synthesize elements drawn a number of diverse theoretical traditions including critical realism, neo-institutionalism, neo-Marxist state theory and evolutionary economics into an evolutionary paradigm for explaining political change. A key element of my work in this area has been an attempt to provide a revisionist account of the postwar development of British politics. This has led to me to produce a number of publications which challenge established accounts of the postwar consensus and Thatcherism.
More recently, my work has focussed upon processes of party modernisation and changing patterns of democracy, citizenship and political participation in the UK. Through an examination of the comparative modernisation strategies of the Labour and Conservative parties, I have attempted to provide a critical deconstruction of the deployment of the term ‘modernisation’. In this work I have drawn upon contemporary theories of modernity and postmodernity to provide a contextual account of the key problems which contemporary political parties face and the types of responses which parties can make within this context.
On issues relating to pedagogical practice, I have recently been working on a research project which is looking at developing strategies for teaching issues of gender and sexuality in political science and international studies departments
Political Sociology, state theory and theories of social and political change with a particular focus on long term trends in British politics. Also, party politics, political leadership and processes of party modernisation in the UK.
I have recently secured a small £5000 research grant from C-SAP (‘Developing Pedagogical Strategies for Teaching Issues of Gender and Sexuality in Political Science and International Relations Departments’) to look into the factors which have inhibited the teaching of issues of gender and sexuality on mainstream political science courses. Sole applicant.
Postwar British Politics: From Conflict to Consensus, (London: Routledge/PSA, 2001).
(with D Marsh, J Buller, C Hay, J Johnston, S McAnulla, M Watson), Postwar British Politics in Perspective, (Cambridge: Polity, 1999).
‘Cameron Chameleon and the Current State of Britain’s ‘Consensus’’, Parliamentary Affairs 60(1) (2007) pp. 46-65.
(and S Kettell) ‘In Defence of British Politics: The Past, Present and Future of the Discipline’, British Politics 1(1) (2006) pp. 3-25.
(and S Kettell) ‘In Defence of Ourselves: A Reply to Johnson’, British Politics 1(3) (2006) pp. 419-425.
‘Saved from Extinction: Evolutionary Theorising, Politics and the State’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations 4 (2) (2002) pp. 330-358.
‘Keeping it Real! Evolution in Political Science: A Reply to Kay and Curry’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations 5(1) (2003).
(and S McAnulla & D Marsh), ‘Shall I Compare Thee?: Evaluating the Politics of New Labour’, in S Lancaster (ed), Developments in Politics, Vol 14 (Ormskirk: Causeway, 2003) pp. 1-21.
(and S McAnulla & D Marsh), ‘Charting Late-Thatcherism: British Politics Under Major’, in S Lancaster (ed), Developments in Politics, Vol 9, (Ormskirk: Causeway, 1997), pp 1-22