Political Change: India (L2095)

30 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

Indian politics, society and economy have undergone substantial changes since the country's independence in 1947. Today India is an important emerging economy with a well developed party system and has a reasonable record of holding regular elections. Indian democracy has been an important area of research for scholars, especially with regard to its ability to survive and function amidst high social heterogeneity, widespread poverty and illiteracy. It is an interesting case to further our insights into the dynamics of political change in a large country amidst multiple social cleavages, significant intra-country differences and an evolving party system. 

This module explores key themes in Indian politics and society to understand the process of political change since its independence. You will analyse how the relationship between political actors and the wider society has been transformed through the rise of ethnic parties and identity politics, the growing importance of state-level parties and civil society movements. It explores how political parties are faced with the need to respond to demands from these organised interests and social movements. 

The key themes analysed in this module are:

  • The transformation of Indian party system from single party dominated system to a fragmented and multi-party competitive system
  • Political importance of socially underprivileged groups, ethnic parties and identity politics
  • The increased prominence of regional parties and emergence of coalition politics
  • The growing influence of civil society, mass movements and media
  • The key challenges facing the Indian nation

While exploring the key themes above the module analyses major factors that have led to political change and the ways in which this change has affected political actors in India. The module primarily uses an empirical approach but also presents relevant theoretical constructs and some comparative analysis to provide you with a rich insight into the politics of change in India.


100%: Seminar


30%: Coursework (Essay)
70%: Written assessment (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 300 hours of work. This breaks down into about 30 hours of contact time and about 270 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 COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. 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: