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BA Politics and Russian / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

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Course unit details:
Political Ideologies in Modern Britain

Unit code POLI30361
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


The course provides an introduction to the concept of ideology and to the articulation of political ideas in Britain from the late nineteenth century to the present. Specific ideological formations discussed include liberalism; fabianism; conservatism; ethical socialism; fascism; communism; revisionism; new left; new right; and new labour. In each case, key texts and exponents are identified as representing key features of these bodies of ideas. Key themes addressed include attitudes to the state and the market; to competing conceptions of political authority; to values of freedom, equality and social justice; to constructions of the nation and its enemies; and to the role of social or political agency. By locating different ideological formations in their specific development, the module also provides a historical narrative of political ideas in modern Britain. Concluding with the case of new labour, this allows consideration of whether Britain has now become a post-ideological society; or at least whether the specific configurations of left and right established at the end of the nineteenth century have now run their course.


' To provide students with an environment which encourages the development of a knowledge and understanding of selected key movements and ideas and personalities British politics.
- To allow students to develop powers of critical, analytical thinking and the ability to construct logical arguments regarding the role of ideology and of distinct traditions in modern Britain.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit successful students will be able to:

- Demonstrate a good understanding of the concept of ideology and express themselves in coursework and assessment assignments.
- Recognise, deconstruct and assess the arguments of significant political movements and thinkers.
- Successful students will analyse and organise secondary data about British political movements and thinkers requiring organisational and communication skills.
- Show some familiarity with available primary sources as well as secondary sources.
- Engage with the challenges involved in the successful articulation of ideas and values in changing political contexts
- Assess the significance of transnational influences in the construction of political ideology

Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught through lectures and seminars.

Assessment methods

Essay 1 40% (2800 words)

Essay 2 50% (3500 words)

Tutorial Participation 10%

Feedback methods

Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission.

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff

Recommended reading

Michael Freeden, Ideology: a very short introduction
Michael Freeden, Ideologies and Political Theory: a conceptual approach
Rodney Barker, Political Ideas in Modern Britain
W.H. Greenleaf, The British Political Tradition

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Kevin Morgan Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Length of course 12 weeks


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