Skip to main content

Unit information: The Politics of the Contemporary Labour Party in 2021/22

Unit name The Politics of the Contemporary Labour Party
Unit code POLI30024
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Wickham-Jones
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will examine the contemporary politics of the Labour Party. In particular it will focus on the nature of the party’s leadership and the role of senior figures in shaping Labour’s policy commitments, electoral outlook, and organizational structure. The unit will look in depth at relationships within the party including those between the leadership and different elements of it such as the parliamentary party, grassroots constituency parties, and the affiliated unions. It will assess a number of scholarly debates about the developments that have taken place to Labour politics over the last few years. It will ask such questions as how does the party’s leadership process work? What groups exist within the Parliamentary Labour Party? What is the role of Labour’s grassroots membership? What is Labour’s electoral strategy? Where does power lie in the contemporary Labour party?

The unit aims to allow students:

To outline the trajectory adopted by the contemporary British Labour Party;

  • To examine the party’s contemporary politics in comparison with its politics in earlier periods;
  • To detail the party’s policy programme;
  • To analyse Labour’s organizational structure;
  • To assess the party’s electoral strategy;
  • To discuss current academic debates about Labour Party politics.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to demonstrate:

• Intricate knowledge of recent developments to the Labour party including such matters as its leadership, its policy programme, its electoral outlook and its organisational structure;

• An ability to critically assess these developments in a comprehensive fashion;

• An detailed understanding of academic debates about the current politics of the Labour Party;

• A critical awareness of the variety of source material available on Labour party politics in recent years, including primary source material.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

2,000 word essay (25%) 3,000 word essay (75%)

Both assessments test all learning outcomes.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI30024).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.