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PL30882: Devolution in the UK: changing politics in a 'nation of nations'

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2013/4
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Further information on credits Credits: 6
Further information on unit levels Level: Honours (FHEQ level 6)
Further information on teaching periods Period: Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment: CW 33%, ES 67%
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment: Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Further information on descriptions Description: Aims:
Constitutional reform and its effects are often incorrectly viewed as dry and technocratic. As this unit demonstrates, however, the implementation and development of devolution across the UK has been an intensely political, ideological matter, with profound socio-political ramifications.
Surveying the current landscape we thus see, to take a few examples: a Scottish nationalist government presiding over a referendum on independence for Scotland in 2014; a Coalition government in Westminster which emphasises that 'we're all in this together', but is seen by many as a basically Southern, English entity; a self-proclaimed 'One Nation' Labour Party, out of power everywhere but Wales; a growing debate on the notion of 'Englishness' at the same time as a rise in the fortune of populist-right parties and far-right social movements in England; and a devolved 'settlement' in Northern Ireland which sees the once unimaginable reality of the ideologically antagonistic, 'hardline' Unionist and Nationalist parties working together as government partners.
With the above in mind this course examines the development of devolution within the United Kingdom and explores its impact upon institutions and political parties in Westminster, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In so doing it delves into issues of ideology and public policy, inter- and intra-party conflicts, the future of the Union and questions of national identity/identities. This module aims to develop not only student's knowledge about the subjects of devolution and UK political parties' policies regarding the Union, but also the important role of ideas and conflicts between ideologies within politics. At the heart of the course is the aim of helping students to develop their research, analytical and critical-thinking skills.

Learning Outcomes:
Upon completion of the module, students should have gained important insights into several areas of analysis regarding the nature of devolution in the UK:
* The key conceptual principles of integration, federalism, subsidiarity and devolution and their application to the UK;
* Historical attempts to devolve power within the UK - both successes and failures;
* Comprehending the relationship between Westminster and devolved institutions in a multi-level system of governance;
* The different powers of each institution in a system of asymmetric devolution;
* The distinctive aspects of Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish - and English - politics and society that have shaped the development of devolution in each polity;
* The positions taken by political parties on matters of devolution within the Union;
* Key ideological debates both within and between political parties;
* The important role parties play in instituting new systems of multi-level politics;
* The complexity of post-devolution parties as a multi-layered institutions.

Skills in critical analysis, precision in the use of written and spoken language, exercise of independent judgement, reasoned argument, effective communication, teamwork and the planning/conduct/reporting of non-quantitative research are developed and assessed in this unit.

* Why Devolution?
* Northern Ireland's Devolved Government from 1921-72
* Explaining the failure of the 1979 Referendums
* Explaining the success of the 1997 Referendums
* The Good Friday Agreement and devolution to Northern Ireland
* Politics in post-devolution Wales
* Politics in post-devolution Scotland
* Devolution and 'the English Question'.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PL30882 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
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* This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2013/4 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2014/15 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2013/14.
* Programmes and units are subject to change at any time, in accordance with normal University procedures.
* Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.