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Semester 1

British Government (PLIT10103)







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Visiting students must have completed 4 Politics courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses, and we cannot consider interdisciplinary courses or courses without sufficient Politics/Government/International Relations focus. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission, and priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Politics department. **Please note that all Politics courses are very high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

The Honours Seminar in British Government is an advanced senior honours course that examines the challenges of governing the United Kingdom in the twenty-first century. We will analyse critically and historically ideas that the political system is "broken", that there is no difference between the main parties, and that parliament and government are in "crisis".

Course Description

Academic Description: In recent times a 'perfect storm' of problems seems to have engulfed many of Britain's most important political institutions. The cornerstones of the Westminster system and the British Political Tradition are under strain. Traditional understandings of the role of Parliament, the Union, the constitution and the two-party system have all been called into question. This course aims to give students the knowledge and analytical skills to make sense of British governance in the twenty-first century and to engage critically with the latest empirical and theoretical research on British politics. We will study the evolution of the British system and whether it is now coping with or buckling under the strain of an unprecedented combination of challenges. We will also link our discussions to wider questions in political science about the nature of governance in the twenty-first century and how we should study it. Outline Content: The key themes of our seminars will be: The Westminster Model and the British Political Tradition; theories of British politics; the political constitution; the Conservative Governments (1979-1997); the Labour Governments (1997-2010); the Coalition Government (2010-2015); challenges to the party system; Whitehall; foreign policy; and apathy and anti-politics. Student Learning Experience:The course is taught through a series of three-hour seminars. There will be two or three presentations by students at each seminar. These presentations will be the starting point for our in-depth discussions.

Assessment Information

Written Exam 35%, Coursework 50%, Practical Exam 15%

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