Dr Stephen Bates

Dr Stephen Bates

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Senior Lecturer in Political Science

Contact details

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

Stephen is a senior 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.


PhD Political Science (Birmingham)


Stephen’s research is at the intersection of British politics, governance research, and political sociology. At a theoretical level, his research focuses on conceptualising power, political agency and political change. This theoretical work has led to substantive empirical research in four main areas: House of Commons Select Committees, Prime Minister's Questions, the governance and regulation of the body, and the status of women in academia.

He is interested in supervising postgraduate research in the areas mentioned above, as well as related areas.


  • Analysing Political Worlds (POLS 201)
  • Politics, Music & the Arts (POLS 355)

Postgraduate supervision

Current doctoral supervision:

  • William Horncastle (co-supervisor with Prof. Peter Burnham) -An investigation into the relationships between Political Finance Systems and Financial Inequality
  • Darcy Luke (co-supervisor with Prof. Peter Burnham) - From 'funny money' to 'hard cash': Cash limit reforms to Treasury control of public expenditure in the context of the global crisis of capital in the 1970s

Past supervision:

  • Fran Amery (co-supervisor with Dr Nicola Smith) - Abortion politics in the UK: Feminism, medicine and the state
  • Mark Goodwin (co-supervisor with Dr Peter Kerr) - Education Governance and Policy Failure under New Labour
  • Cherry Miller (co-supervisor with Dr Peter Kerr) – Beneath the Spectacle: Gendering ‘the Everyday’ in the British House of Commons
  • Martin Monahan (co-supervisor with Dr Peter Kerr) - The Conservative Party and Social Justice Policy 1997–2010: An Historical Institutionalist Analysis
  • Liam Stanley (co-supervisor with Dr David Bailey) - The Everyday Politics of the Global Financial Crisis in the UK


Research interests

  • Select Committees in the UK Parliament
  • Prime Minister's Questions
  • The status of women in academia
  • Power and political agency
  • The politics of the body

Research Grants

Current projects

The Effectiveness of House of Commons Select Committees
Building on his British Academy-funded project, Stephen continues to be concerned with the effectiveness of select committees. Working with Dr Mark Goodwin (Birmingham) and Prof. Steve McKay (Lincoln), current research is focusing on gendered divisions of labour within committees. Future plans concern the impact of select committee membership on MPs’ parliamentary careers and the effectiveness of committee in performing their role of informing Parliament on topics under their jurisdiction.

A Corpus-Based Analysis of PMQs
Working with Prof. Alison Sealey (Lancaster), Stephen is using corpus techniques to analyse every session of PMQs from 1979 to 2010. Current research is focusing on changes over time in the substantive representation of women as expressed in questions posed during PMQs.

Women in Political Science
This project is an update of Stephen’s co-authored 2012 article on women in the profession. Working with Dr Zoe Pflaeger (De Montford), Dr Fran Amery (Bath) and Dr Cherry Miller (Tampere), he is exploring changes in the presence and seniority of women in UK political science over the past 8 years, as well as the impact of Athena SWAN awards and the gendered make-up of university governance institutions at a disciplinary level.

Other activities

Stephen is an Assistant Editor on the PSA journal Political Studies Review.


Bates, S., Goodwin, M. & McKay. S. (2017) “Do UK MPs engage more with Select Committees since the Wright Reforms? An Interrupted Time Series Analysis, 1979-2016”, Parliamentary Affairs, 70(4): 780-800.

Sealey, A. & Bates, S. (2016) “Prime ministerial self-reported actions in Prime Minister's Questions 1979–2010: A corpus-assisted analysis”, Journal of Pragmatics, 104: 18-31.

Goodwin, M. & Bates, S. (2016) “The 'powerless parliament'? Agenda-setting and the role of the UK parliament in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008”, British Politics, 11(2): 232-255.

Luke, D. & Bates, S. (2015) "Using Critical Realism to Explain Indeterminacy in Role Behaviour Systematically", The Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 45(3): 331-351.

Bates, S. & Savigny, H. (2015) "Symposium Editorial: Why we need to talk about women in the profession", European Political Science, 14(2): 75-78.

Williams, H., Jenkins, L., Luke, D., Rogers, K. & Bates, S. (2015) "Gender and Journal Authorship: An Assessment of Articles Published by Women in Three Top British Political Science and International Relations Journals", European Political Science, 14(2): 116-130.

Bates, S. & Savigny, H. (2015) " Conclusion: The future status of women in European political science", European Political Science, 14(2): 131-136.

Bates, S.R. (2015) "The emergent body: Marx, critical realism and the corporeal in contemporary capitalist society", Global Society, 29(1): 128-147.

View all publications in research portal


  • Prime Minister's Questions

Media experience