Dr Peter Kerr

Dr Peter Kerr

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Senior Lecturer in Politics

Contact details

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

Peter Kerr is a Senior Lecturer in Politics. He specialises and teaches in the area of British politics, with a particular focus on governmental strategies, UK political parties, political leadership and ideology in the UK and, changes and continuities in British political institutions and public policy since 1945.

Feedback and office hours

  • Monday 12.00 - 13.30
  • Thursday 12.00 - 13.30


BA (Hons) Politics and Sociology (University of Strathclyde)

PhD Political Science (University of Birmingham)


My broad research interests lie in applying theories of social and political change to explain trends in British politics. My current work focusses on examining, both theoretically and empirically, the relationship between processes of politicisation and de-politicisation within the broader context of neo-liberal governmentality in the UK. Relatedly, my work also focusses on party modernisation, with a particular focus on Conservative Party modernisation, as well as changing patterns of democracy, citizenship and political participation in the UK.

In previous work 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. 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.

I am also co-Founder and co-Executive Editor (since 2005) of the Palgrave journal, British Politics


  • POLS 101: Foundations of Politics
  • POLS 315: Topics in British Politics
  • POLS G35: Contemporary Themes and Issues in British Politics


My research interests include:

  • British politics;
  • State theory and theories of social and political change;
  • UK party politics and party modernisation;
  • Political leadership and governing strategies in the UK;
  • Citizenship and political participation;
  • Political sociology

Other activities

I am the co-Founder and co-Executive Editor (since 2005) of the Palgrave journal British Politics

I am also currently the Deputy Head of Department and the Admissions and Recruitment Lead for the School of Government and Society



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).

Selected Journal articles:

(with E Foster & C Byrne) ‘Rolling Back to Roll Forward: De-politicisation and the Extension of Government’, Policy and Politics Forthcoming, (2014)

(with E Foster, A Hopkins, C Byrne & L Ahall) ‘The Personal is not Political: At Least in the UK’s Top Politics and IR Departments’, British Journal of Politics and International Relations 15(4) (2013) pp 566

(with S Bates, C Byrne & L Stanley) ‘Questions to the Prime Minister: A Comparative Analysis of PMQs from Thatcher to Cameron’, Parliamentary Affairs (2012) Advanced Online Access

(with C Byrne & E Foster) ‘Understanding Conservative Modernisation’, in T Heppell & D Seawright (ed) Cameron and the Conservatives: The Transition to Coalition Government (Palgrave, 2012) pp 16-31

(and C Byrne & E Foster) ‘Theorising Cameronism’, Political Studies Review 9(2) (2011)

(with S Kettell)  ‘One Year On: The Decline and Fall of Gordon Brown’,  British Politics 3(4) (2008)

‘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

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