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.

While 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.


50%: Lecture
50%: Seminar


100%: Coursework (Essay)

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.

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: