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An Introduction to UK Politics

An Introduction to UK Politics
Place, Pluralism, and Identities

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March 2024 | 384 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

A bold and unique introduction to UK Politics. This is the first textbook which breaks free from the conventional approaches that revolve around the Westminster bubble, instead drawing upon the diverse challenges facing citizens and decision-makers today. Leading experts are brought together in this carefully edited collection that spans traditional and critical approaches. An Introduction to UK Politics highlights central concerns facing British politics today, from ongoing colonial legacies to Britain’s inequality and the impact of decades of austerity. Spotlighted throughout are timely examples and latest research, drawing on topics spanning policy responses to climate change and the role of social class in educational outcomes; to the latest calls for increased devolution and shifting public opinion on UK Foreign Policy.

This textbook is packed with features, including:

·       Case Studies to encourage critical thinking by presenting different perspectives on key events.

·       Theory Boxes which explore concepts in action.

·       Spotlight on Research showcases seminal and controversial publications to spark debate.

·       Annotated Reading Lists guide students to further readings.

Unique to this text is a central focus on the role identities and inequalities play in contemporary British Politics. It offers students the tools to conduct analysis into the shifting dynamics in this major new action-focused, problem-based, and engaging introduction. And centrally, the book offers a compelling call to action – that is how we all have the capacity to shape British politics every day.

An Introduction to UK Politics is essential reading for any undergraduate student studying UK or British Politics.

Joanie Willett – Associate Professor in Politics, University of Exeter, UK

Arianna Giovannini – Professor of Political Sociology, University of Urbino, Italy

Joanie Willett and Arianna Giovannini
An introduction to politics in the UK
Part 1: Foundations
Joanie Willett
1 Power, Pluralism, And Politics in the UK
Arianna Giovannini
2 The UK as a Multi-National State: contested histories, state-formation and constitutional settlement
Amina Easat-Daas and Simon Stevens
3 The Global History of the UK: Colonialism and Decolonisation
Frederick Harry Pitts and Lorena Lombardozzi
4 Class and gender as structural inequalities in the UK: The politics of production and social reproduction
Part 2: Institutions
Joanie Willett
5 Creating Political Change: From the (Informal) Politics of the Everyday to Formal Politics.
Arianna Giovannini
6 Devolution, Sub-national Governance and Inequalities
Judith Sijstermans
7 Do British Political Parties Reflect British Pluralism?
Rosie Campbell
8 Elections, Referenda and Public Opinion
Steven Harkins
9 Place, Pluralism and the Media: Who Tells Us About Political Affairs?
Thomas Caygill
10 The Legislature
Patrick Diamond
11 The Executive
Part 3: Big Questions
Kate Alexander-Shaw
12 An Economy for all?
Clare Saunders
13 UK environment and climate change politics
Ben Whitham
14 Britain in the world

This timely and most original book is a very welcome addition to students of British politics in a turbulent time. Going beyond the standard overviews of constitutional and institutional affairs, the contributors weave together core aspects of Britain's political system with surrounding social contexts, using relatable cases from everyday life to demonstrate to students the significance of rapidly evolving actors and systems in Britain's political culture, national consciousness, and a changing society.

Dr Russell Foster
Senior Lecturer in British and International Politics, Dept. European & International Studies, King's College London

This is a very rare kind of book. It provides an introduction to British politics while at the same time challenging a number of dominant assumptions and exploring the emergence of new pressures. At its core is an emphasis on pluralism and power. The interwoven nature of modern British governance – in relation to ideas, processes and institutions – is laid bare in an account of a changing polity which is as sophisticated as it is subtle, and as engaging as it is accessible.

Matthew Flinders
Professor of Politics, University of Sheffield and Vice President of the Political Studies Association of the United Kingdom

A comprehensive and fascinating look at key topics in British politics today. Weaving together theory, empirical analysis and expert contributions, this is both clearly written and thought-provoking. A must read for all British politics students.

Laura Richards-Gray
Lecturer in British Politics, Birkbeck University of London

This book offers a stimulating and accessible introduction to the ideas, identities, and institutions that shape our politics today. It will be an invaluable resource to students seeking to navigate the complex and rapidly changing politics of the United Kingdom.

Richard Hayton
Associate Professor of Politics, University of Leeds

This book goes beyond the study of political institutions, portraying a ‘diverse array of voices’ and how these perspectives shape the UK’s political system. This inclusive approach to the study of politics helps us understand the UK as a multinational state (how it got here and where it might be going) and it provides a hard-hitting account of the challenges facing citizens and decision-makers today. This is a different kind of textbook which comes highly recommended.

Lynn Bennie
Lecturer in Politics, University of Aberdeen

An Introduction to UK Politics provides a solid introduction to the institutions of UK governance, whilst also being rooted in ‘everyday’ political lives. Up to date, and with attention to theoretical concepts, it will be of real benefit to students who want to know how UK politics really works.

Daniel Gover
Senior Lecturer in British Politics, Queen Mary University of London

This book brings a fresh and original perspective to the changing panorama of British politics. Unlike the more traditional institution-focused textbooks, this new Introduction engages with the fragmentary and sometimes contradictory elements of British politics in a sharp and stimulating fashion.

Cillian McGrattan
Lecturer in Politics, Ulster University

This is a fascinating and highly original introduction to the study of contemporary British politics. By focusing on the concept of pluralism, the authors succeed in drawing together both traditional and novel perspectives on what British politics is all about. Students who read this book will learn not only to understand contemporary political institutions, actors and issues, but to situate them in a broader story of what it means to do politics in a multinational, multicultural, multidimensional modern state.

James Strong
Senior Lecturer in British Politics, Queen Mary University of London

This innovative and intellectually stimulating textbook provides a highly relevant approach to the study of British politics. It enhances our understanding of the UK’s political system by reference to important contemporary themes, such as pluralism, historical legacy, identity and inequality.

Geoff Horn
Lecturer in Politics, Newcastle University

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