Undergraduate Course: The Politics of the UK Constitution (PLIT10119)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The contested nature of the UK constitution and debates on reform have are key features of UK politics. This course will set these debates into context and consider the nature of the UK constitution in the conceptual literature on comparative constitutions. A running theme throughout the course will be consideration of the nature of the UK constitution as a whole and how it may have been transformed by reforms.
Constitutional politics have become more prominent in the UK in recent decades especially following the passage of the Blair Government's programme of constitutional reform. The individual items have tended to be studied in isolation despite evidence that changes in one part of the constitution has implications for other parts. This class is designed to understanding the UK constitution as a whole. It raises questions as to the form of change enacted placing such debates in wider context of institutional and constitutional reform.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Visiting students should have at least 4 Politics/International Relations courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
** as numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course **
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 22,
Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||The essay will be returned within 15 days of submission.
Each week will focus on a key question with selected readings. All students will participate in the first section of the weekly seminars by briefly outlining what they have read, learned and respond to the tutor. This aims to ensure that students have prepared for each week, ensure student participation, and allow the tutor to guide subsequent discussion. This will be followed by student presentations and finally by a tutor led discussion - usually 10/15 minutes from between 1-3 students depending on student numbers. Written feedback will give provided to each student presenting a paper in seminar.
The last section will involve tutor led discussion to ensure any matters of substance not already covered are discussed and will be accompanied by powerpoint slides made available to the class at the start of the weekly seminar.
Each week's seminar will be supplemented by online discussion with key questions posted by the class tutor with ensuing discussion.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S1 (December)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- understand different conceptions of the UK constitution
- engage critically with various authors contesting the nature of the UK constitution
- reflect on the changing nature of the UK constitution
- acquire a political science perspective on constitutional politics
- relate debates on aspects of the UK constitution to understandings of the UK as a whole.
|Bogdanor, Vernon (2009), The New British Constitution.|
Gordon, Michael (2015), Parliamentary Sovereignty in the UK Constitution: Process, Politics and Democracy.
King, Anthony (2001), Does the United Kingdom still have a constitution? London, Sweet & Maxwell.
McLean, Iain (2009), What's wrong with the British Constitution.
Maer, L., Hazell, R., King, S., Russell, M., Trench, A., Sandford, M. (2004). Dragging the Constitution out of the Shadows. Parliamentary Affairs 57(2), 253-268
Oliver, Dawn (2006), Constitutional Reform in the UK.
Russell, M. and Cowley, P. (2015). The Policy Power of the Westminster Parliament: The 'Parliamentary State' and the Empirical Evidence. Governance
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||- conceptual analysis applying political debates into a conceptual framework;
- understanding the relationship between constitutional institutions and political power;
- improved their communication and research skills by engaging and applying the literature with fluency.
|Course organiser||Prof James Mitchell
|Course secretary||Mr Ethan Alexander
Tel: (0131 6)50 4001