The Political System of the United Kingdom

 

Syllabus

 

Outline/Slides

1 22.04.

Introduction: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 3

2 29.04.

The British Tradition: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 4+7, supp: Hay, 2007

3 06.05.

The Constitution: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 10 + Russell, 2011 + Jones and Norton, 2014,
p. 262

4 13.05.

We’ll debate the fallout from the General Election 2015

5 20.05.

Electoral System and Electoral Reform: Dunleavy and Margetts, 2001 + Blau, 2004 + Jones
and Norton, 2014, p. 262

6 27.05.

Parliament: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 19 + Kelso, 2011 + Russell, 2009 (supp.)

7 03.06.

The Core Executive: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 11 + Richards, 2011

8 10.06.

Ministers, Departments, Civil Servants: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 12+13 + Wilson, 2002 +
Rhodes, 2005 (supp.)

9 17.06.

Devolution and the Irish Problem: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 17 + Scully and Wyn Jones, 2011
+ McLean, 2007 (supp.)

10 24.06.

The Party System: Cowley, 2011 + Ford and Goodwin, 2014

11 01.07.

Elections and Voting Behaviour: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 20 + Denver, 2011

12 08.07.

The Media: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 25 + Chadwick and Stanyer, 2011

13 15.07.

Pressure Groups and the Judicary: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 21+24 + Woodhouse, 2002

14 22.07.

Assessing British Democracy: Kavanagh et al., 2006, ch. 32 + Beetham et al., 2003 +
Wilks-Heeg, 2012

Important peer-reviewed journals

  • British Journal of Political Science
  • British Journal of Politics and International Relations
  • Government and Opposition
  • Parliamentary Affairs
  • Political Quarterly
  • Political Studies

Articles from these journals should be available electronically on any computer connected to the university network (either on campus or via VPN).

Assessment

  1. I expect you to come to class well prepared. If you don’t read the assigned texts, participation is pointless.
  2. Even with a medical certificate, you may miss a maximum of two classes.
  3. Assessment is based on satisfactory class performance and your essay. The usual deadline as well as all the usual standards for structure, citations etc. apply.
  4. The American Political Science Association’s style manual
    is a useful but verbose guide (http://www.apsanet.org/files/APSAStyleManual2006.pdf). The
    main points are summarised here: http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/DocAPSA.html.
  5. Please send your essays by mail (leaving enough time for delivery by the due-date), or hand them in to the Studienbüro. I do not accept email submissions
  6. Plagiarism is the most serious academic offence. It is both morally and legally a form of fraud and will not be tolerated. Students who cheat in this way will be awarded a mark of zero.
  7. Essays must be entirely students’ own work, and any passages from the work of others that are quoted directly, or paraphrased or summarised, must be acknowledged and accompanied by full references. Avoid internet sources as they are not normally peer-reviewed. If you absolutely have to use material from the internet, you must give the full
    URL and the date on which the website was accessed.
  8. Essay titles must be chosen from the two lists below.

Essay Topics

  1. At what point did Britain become a Liberal Democracy?
  2. Has Britain’s constitution become more or less democratic during the last 40 years?
  3. What alternative voting systems have been proposed for elections to the Westminster Parliament? Which would be preferable on what grounds?
  4. Would an elected House of Lords weaken or strengthen Parliament?
  5. “The British PM is more powerful than the president of the United States”. Discuss.
  6. Should the House of Commons be reformed? If so, in which ways?
  7. Why have the Liberal Democrats found it so difficult to break the mould of British politics?
  8. What is the most democratic answer to the “English Question”?
  9. Why has the “political role” of the judiciary increased in recent decades?
  10. Has the Human Rights Act strengthened or undermined British democracy?
  11. Does the “Westminster Model” still accurately portray the British political system?

References

Beetham, David et al. (2003). “Democratic Audit: Towards a Broader View of Democratic Achievement”. In:
Parliamentary Affairs 56 (2), pp. 334–347. doi: 10.1093/pa/gsg023.

Blau, Adrian (2004). “Fairness and Electoral Reform”. In: The British Journal of Politics and International
Relations 6.2, pp. 165–181. doi: 10 . 1111 / j . 1467 – _856X . 2004 . 00132 . x. url:
http://www.blackwell-_synergy.com/links/doi/10.1111/j.1467-_856X.2004.00132.x.

Chadwick, Andrew and James Stanyer (2011). “The Changing News Media Environment”. In: Developments in British
Politics 9. Ed. by Richard Heffernan, Philip Cowley and Collin Hay. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 215–237.

Cowley, Philip (2011). “Political Parties and the British Party System”. In: Developments in British Politics 9. Ed. by
Richard Heffernan, Philip Cowley and Collin Hay. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 91–112.

Denver, David (2011). “Elections and Voting”. In: Developments in British Politics 9. Ed. by Richard Heffernan, Philip
Cowley and Collin Hay. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 70–90.

Dunleavy, Patrick and Helen Margetts (2001). “From Majoritarian to Pluralist Democracy?: Electoral Reform in
Britain Since 1997”. In: Journal of Theoretical Politics 13.3, pp. 295–319. doi: 10.1177/095169280101300304.
url: http://jtp.sagepub.com/cgi/doi/10.1177/095169280101300304.

Ford, Robert and Matthew J. Goodwin (2014). “Understanding UKIP. Identity, Social Change and the Left Behind”.
In: The Political Quarterly 85.3, pp. 277–284. doi: 10.1111/1467-_923X.12099.

Hay, Colin (2007). “Whatever Happened to Thatcherism?” In: Political Studies Review 5.2, pp. 183–201.

Jones, Bill and Philip Norton, eds. (2014). Politics UK. 8th ed. London: Routledge.

Kavanagh, Dennis et al. (2006). British Politics. 5th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Kelso, Alexandra (2011). “New Parliamentary Landscapes”. In: Developments in British Politics 9. Ed. by Richard
Heffernan, Philip Cowley and Collin Hay. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 51–69.

McLean, Iain (2007). “The National Question”. In: Blair’s Britain. Ed. by Anthony Seldon. Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, pp. 487–508.

Rhodes, R. A. W. (2005). “Everyday Life in a Ministry: Public Administration as Anthropology”. In: The
American Review of Public Administration 35 (1), pp. 3–25. doi: 10 . 1177 / 0275074004271716. url:
http://arp.sagepub.com/cgi/doi/10.1177/0275074004271716.

Richards, David (2011). “Changing Patterns of Executive Governance”. In: Developments in British Politics 9. Ed. by
Richard Heffernan, Philip Cowley and Collin Hay. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 29–50.

Russell, Meg (2009). “House of Lords Reform: Are We Nearly There Yet?” In: The Political Quarterly 80.1,
pp. 119–125. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-_923X.2009.01968.x.

— (2011). “Constitutional Politics”. In: Developments in British Politics 9. Ed. by Richard Heffernan, Philip Cowley
and Collin Hay. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 7–28.

Scully, Roger and Richard Wyn Jones (2011). “Territorial Politics in Post-Devolution Britain”. In: Developments
in British Politics 9. Ed. by Richard Heffernan, Philip Cowley and Collin Hay. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan,
pp. 113–129.

Wilks-Heeg, Stuart (2012). “How Democratic is the UK? The 2012 Audit”. In: Political Insight 3.2, pp. 8–11. doi:
10.1111/j.2041-_9066.2012.00104.x.

Wilson, Richard (2002). “Portrait of
a Profession Revisited”. In: The Political Quarterly 73.4, pp. 381–391. doi: 10.1111/1467-_923X.00492. url:
http://www.blackwell-_synergy.com/links/doi/10.1111/1467-_923X.00492.

Woodhouse, Diana (2002). “The Law and Politics: In the Shadow of the Human Rights Act”. In:
Parliamentary Affairs 55 (2), pp. 254–270. doi: 10 . 1093 / parlij / 55 . 2 . 254. url:
http://pa.oupjournals.org/cgi/doi/10.1093/parlij/55.2.254.

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