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Unit information: Populism in 2021/22

Unit name Populism
Unit code POLI30039
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Wyatt
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 investigates the growing salience of populist ideas, populist parties and movements in contemporary politics. The unit will survey the development of populism in selected cases in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Students will probe and debate the recent growth of populist politics in pursuit of explanations. They will also be asked to consider other ways of understanding populism, including interpretive and anthropological approaches to the phenomena. The wider literature on populism will be introduced and it will be read alongside case material. Students will thus be able to critically assess the validity of the conceptual literature on populism.

The unit aims are:

- To introduce students to different approaches to studying populism
- To illustrate different ways of understanding populism through explanation and interpretation
- To develop student’s knowledge of specific populist parties, populist leaders and movements
- To help students develop their advanced writing and presentation skills

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

1. demonstrate a clear understanding of key theoretical and comparative literature on populism
2. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of populist politics in selected cases
3. critically assess the extent of, and limits to, strategies based on populist appeals in selected cases
4. integrate empirical evidence into theoretically and conceptually grounded arguments
5. judge the validity of different conceptual approaches to the study of populism
6. interpret populist ideologies and strategies in relation to ‘everyday politics’ and cultural context

Teaching Information

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

Assessment Information

Summative essay 1 – 2000 words (25% weighting - assesses learning outcomes 1 - 5)
Summative essay 2 – 2500 words (75% weighting - assesses 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. POLI30039).

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.