Populism and Politics (M1535)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

Populism is a widely used term in politics but rarely conceptualised in political science. This module explores the phenomenon of populism and its relationship to politics and particularly to representative politics and considers populism, its meaning, its causes and effects in a systematic and comparative way. Populism is understood in its widest possible sense in this module so that we explore populism of the right and of the left and we examine a wider range of disparate cases of populism from different parts of the world. The module has essentially two elements: the first is the examination of a range of different examples of populist movements, moments, personalities and parties (eg from Russia, North America, Latin America and Europe). The second element is to examine the conceptualisation of populism and to engage with the debates about whether to and how to define populism. The module will be empirically oriented allowing you to develop interests in a small number of cases with an eye to clarifying your positions on the wider conceptual debates regarding populism.


100%: Seminar


100%: Written assessment (Dissertation)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 33 hours of contact time and about 267 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: