GV3L1      Half Unit
Analytical Approaches to British Politics

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Torun Dewan


This course is available on the BA in Social Anthropology, BSc in History and Politics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Data Science, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, BSc in Politics and International Relations, BSc in Politics and Philosophy and BSc in Social Anthropology. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Students from BSc in Economics may also take the course with permission.


Students must have completed Public Choice and Politics (GV225).

The course is designed primarily for students on the BSc Politics and Economics programme. Students from other BSc Politics programmes who have taken GV225 may also apply.

Course content

Strøm (2000) argues that the conceptual essence of Parliamentary government is a “historical evolution” – an accident of 19th century Britain that spread to other parts of the world. Recent analytical political science has shed light on Britain’s political development and how its institutions function, using game theoretic modelling, rational choice narratives, and quantitative data. The course covers this literature and takes an analytical approach to topics such as: the historical development of British institutions and Imperial governance; the emergence and impact of Government-vs-Opposition;  the historical development of the British party system;  the causes and consequence of franchise extension;  the Cabinet and its conventions; and the composition of the Executive and Parliament over time.


This course is delivered through a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 36 hours across the Lent and Summer Terms. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the LT.

1500 word essay to be completed by end of reading week

Indicative reading

Cox, G. (1987) The Efficient Secret, Cambridge University Press

Berlinski, S., Dewan, T, and Dowding K. (2012) Accounting for Ministers: Scandal and Survival in British Government 1945-2007, Cambridge University Press

Mclean, I (2002) Rational Choice and British Politics: An Analysis of Rhetoric from and Manipulation from Peel to Blair, Oxford University Press

Schonhardt-Bailey, C (2006)  From the Corn Laws to Free Trade: Interests, Ideas and Institutions in Historical Perspective, MIT Press


Online assessment (100%) in the ST.

Online assessment duration: 7 days in the ST.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2021/22: 4

Average class size 2021/22: 4

Capped 2021/22: Yes (15)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills