British and European Politics

Course Material 2023/24

European politics has always been a vibrant subject, and has been in considerable flux in recent years. In fact, the word ‘crisis’ is frequently used to describe various aspects of European politics – from the ‘crisis of the post-war settlement’ and the ‘crisis of the welfare state’ to the ‘crisis of political parties’, the ‘Eurozone crisis’, and the ‘migration crisis’. Most recently, the UK’s vote to leave the European Union has raised profound questions about the relationship between Britain and continental Europe, the effectiveness of the UK’s political institutions, and the long-term prospects of the EU itself.

POL13 examines these questions through two modules, one on British Politics and one on The Politics of the European Union: the exam will be an undivided paper, so students can specialize in one module or study them in combination. The British Politics module explores politics in the UK since 1945, including the rise and fall of the post-war settlement, Thatcherism and New Labour, changes to the constitution and policymaking, developments in political economy, and electoral behaviour up to the 2019 general election. The Politics of the European Union module examines key aspects of the process of European integration, such as the nature of the European Union, the distribution of power within (and political mobilisation against) the EU, monetary integration and its problems, EU enlargement, and the EU’s role in international affairs. The paper will enable students to engage critically with the scholarly literature in these fields and to develop a comparative and historical perspective on British and European politics.

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