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Unit information: New Labour and After in 2015/16

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Unit name New Labour and After
Unit code SPAI30019
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
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 is concerned with the nature of New Labour as a force in British politics. The focus of the unit is upon the rise of New Labour in British politics since 1983. The unit will look briefly at theoretical debates about the nature of New Labour before looking in detail at the transition in the party during the 1980s in terms of the party's objectives, organisation and electoral strategy. The unit will look at Blair's leadership of the party in opposition between 1994 and 1997. The last part of the unit will examine developments in Labour's strategy and organisation since the departure of Tony Blair in 2007 and the party's election defeat in 2010. Unit aims: To outline the trajectory taken by the British Labour Party since 1983 and to examine its potential, objectives, electoral strategy and organisation.

  • To examine the party’s recovery in this period.
  • To assess theories about the nature of ‘New’ Labour.
  • To detail New Labour’s transition from opposition to office.
  • To analyse the policies implemented by New Labour in government since 1997.

Intended Learning Outcomes

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

  1. An understanding of some debates about the nature of ‘New’ Labour.
  2. An awareness of some developments in the politics of New Labour and an ability to assess those developments in a critical and evaluative fashion.
  3. An ability to write clearly and analytically, making use of the relevant material for the issue under consideration
  4. An awareness of the variety of source material available on Labour party issues in the era of New Labour.
  • An ability to assess particular forms of primary source material.

Teaching Information

2 hour seminar, 1hr lecture

Assessment Information

Formatively, the unit will be assessed through an essay of no more than 2,000 words.

Summatively, the unit will be assessed through an essay of no more than 3,000 words.

Each essay will directly assess learning outcomes 1, 2, 3, and 4, including students’ understanding of New Labour in terms of some debates about the nature of New Labour, their critical awareness and appraisal of some developments in New Labour, and their appraisal of relevant source material as well as the clarity of analysis that is offered.

Reading and References

  • Steven Fielding, The Labour Party Continuity and Change in the Making of New Labour (Palgrave),
  • Andrew Chadwick and Richard Heffernan, The New Labour Reader (Polity)
  • Stephen Driver and Luke Martell, Blair’s Britain (Polity)
  • Steve Ludlam and Martin J. Smith (eds), New Labour in Government
  • David Coates and Peter Lawler (eds), New Labour into Power
  • Anthony Seldon (ed.), The Blair Effect