Populism and Politics (M1535)

30 credits, Level 6

Spring teaching

Populism is a widely used term in politics, but is rarely conceptualised in political science.

You’ll explore the phenomenon of populism and its relationship to politics, particularly to representative politics. You’ll consider the meaning, cause and effects of populism in a systematic and comparative way. You will examine populism of the right and the left, looking at a wide range of disparate cases from different parts of the world. 

In the first part of the module you will look at examples of populist movements, moments, personalities and parties – including Russia, North America, Latin America and Europe.

In the second part you will examine the conceptualisation of populism and engage with debates about how to define populism.

You’ll be able to develop interests in a small number of cases whilst clarifying your position 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.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2023/24. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to feedback, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let you know of any material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: