Political and Social Change in Contemporary Europe (L2091)

15 credits, Level 5

Autumn teaching

This module analyses the broad social changes which have occurred in Western Europe since 1945, and in postcommunist European countries since the collapse of communism. It does this by using the social scientist's notion of 'cleavages', to explore divisions in society derived from factors such as religion, class, gender and ethnicity, and their impact on political behaviour. It also looks at the role played by nationalism, populism, regionalism and postmaterialism in driving social change and political affiliation. We also consider recent demographic trends such as declining birth rates and ageing populations, and the impact of these trends on social and political behaviour.

Whilst the module has a theoretical underpinning in social science, it is taught in a way which is accessible to students from any discipline. It is particularly enriched by the participation of students from a wide range of nationalities and cultures, and visiting and exchange students are most welcome on this module.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 20 hours of contact time and about 130 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, we are constantly looking to improve and enhance our courses. There may be changes to modules in response to student demand or feedback, changes to staff expertise or updates to our curriculum. We may also need to make changes in response to COVID-19. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: