Universität Wien FIND
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210078 SE BA 13 State Activity, Policy and Governance Analyses (2010W)

6.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 21 - Politikwissenschaft
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 50 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Monday 11.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 18.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 25.10. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 08.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 15.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 22.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 29.11. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 06.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 13.12. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 10.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 17.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 24.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock
Monday 31.01. 15:00 - 16:30 Hörsaal 2 (H2), NIG 2.Stock


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course provides an overview of the British political system. After a brief historical overview, we start by considering the country’s main institutions, concentrating on its parliament and the government. We will compare Britain’s system with other democratic countries and consider recent constitutional changes that mean the country is moving away from the pure Westminster model. We then consider parties and elections in Britain in detail, focusing on the rise of smaller and regional parties, electoral de-alignment and the effects of the electoral system.

Outline syllabus

1. A brief overview of Britain since 1945
2. Is Britain still a Westminster system?
3. The UK Government: elective dictatorship?
4. The House of Commons: how weak is it?
5. Devolution and multilevel politics in the UK
6. The British electoral system(s)
7. Parties and party systems in the UK: from two to more parties
8. Ideological change in British parties
9. The internal organisation of British parties
10. Voting behaviour in Britain I – the class cleavage
11. Voting behaviour in Britain II – realignment and dealignment
12. The future of British politics
13. Conclusion and wrapping up

Assessment and permitted materials

Students will be required complete:
- Three short, one-page assignments throughout the term, based on the assigned readings (20% of the final mark)
- One 2000-word essay, due in Week 9 of the course (30%)
- One 4000-word essay (Seminararbeit), due in April 2011 (40%)

The final 10% of the mark will consist of an evaluation of class participation.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

At the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Identify the main features and developments of the British political system, including: the British constitutional order and recent changes to it; the evolution of parties and the British party system; and changes in the voting behaviour of the British public.
- Explain and evaluate institutional change, party competition and voting behaviour in Great Britain
- Communicate effectively and fluently a well-developed argument based on the relevant literature in (a) two essays, one of 2000 and one of 4000 words and (b) short assignments.

Examination topics

Reading list

Barnett, H. (2002) Britain Unwrapped
Bogdanor, V. (2009) The New British Constitution
Clarke, H. et al. (2009) Performance Politics and the British Voter
Webb, P. (2000) The Modern British Party System

There is no textbook for this course. Instead, students will be assigned three to four articles and chapters for each week. Further reading, in particular information on particular parties, will be provided.

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Mo 07.09.2020 15:38