IR5009 - UK Politics Beyond Westminster

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What will I learn on this module?

On this module I will investigate the forms of sub-national and territorial governance within the UK. In doing so, I will address the question of whether recent developments beyond Westminster spell the end of the unitary state in the UK, mark the shift to a Federal system or even lead to the ‘Break up of Britain’. My understanding of such a fundamental political question will be enhanced by a strong historical focus on the evolution of decentralisation in the UK, a clear understanding of the conceptual and theoretical basis of decentralisation and devolution, and a wider comparative focus on decentralisation in nations other than the UK. The module will test a number of my assumptions about the nature of the British political system and give me a clear understanding of the new forces of nationalism, identity and distrust of Westminster that are beginning to reshape British Politics.

How will I learn on this module?

I will learn by attending lectures where I will be presented with an overview of the structures and processes of decentralisation and devolution, key concepts and theories and of the changing nature of sub-national and territorial governance. In small group sessions, I will debate and discuss with other students some of the key implications of Politics Beyond Westminster

How will I be supported academically on this module?

My academic development will be facilitated through engagement with the academic literature, with the case studies of decentralisation provided.. Direct engagement with my peers (via assessed student presentations) will enhance my understanding and awareness of concepts, institutions and wider processes of political change. To enhance my learning experience I will make an effort to engage with a wider literature (both academic and practitioner-based), draw upon - and make connections with - other modules on politics and policy, and use this module as a mechanism to more fully develop my intellectual and communication skills. In identifying and explaining the rapid process and pace of change in UK politics, I will add to my graduate skill set.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

1. The changing nature of sub-national politics in the UK and the different conceptual and normative frameworks that attempt to explain and promote decentralisation and devolution

2. The implications of recent changes on the future viability of the British political system

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
At the end of this module I will be able to:

3. Critically engage with - and challenge - the traditional model of the UK as a centralised, unitary state

4. Compare and Contrast the different routes to devolution both within and outside the UK

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
At the end of this module I will be able to:

5. Synthesise complex information and construct an argument based upon evidence

How will I be assessed?

Formative and Summative feedback on my contribution in small group sessions.

The summative assessment will consist of a written assignment which will assess my knowledge and understanding of sub-national governance (in England and the three devolved administrations) and test the application of my critical analytical skills.

An assessed presentation will test my ability to present complex developments to my peers and the skills to respond to, and further assimilate, the views of other group members.





Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code L2L2

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Social Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020 or September 2021

Fee Information

Module Information

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