Parties and Elections

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 17 January 2022
Friday 25 March 2022
02 December 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L215 Politics with Business,
BA L216 Politics with Business,
BA L217 Politics with Business (including Year Abroad),
BSC LL25 Politics with Business,
BSC LL26 Politics with Business,
BSC LL27 Politics with Business (including Year Abroad),
BA L212 Global Politics,
BA L213 Global Politics (including Placement Year),
BA L214 Global Politics (including Year Abroad)

Module description

This module provides an introduction to electoral and party politics in advanced liberal democracies. It examines party systems, party competition, electoral behaviour and party organisation.

Module aims

1) To provide a broad overview of political processes in and academic debates on electoral and party politics in the UK and Western Europe.
2) To encourage an analytical and critical perspective on political processes and actors that we encounter in academic literature and public affairs.

Module learning outcomes

1) To develop a critical understanding of the main processes and academic debates in electoral and party politics in the UK and Western Europe.
2) To be able to distinguish and critically evaluate alternative theoretical perspectives on key questions in electoral and party politics.
3) To be able to reflect on and discuss the normative implications of alternative theoretical perspectives.
4) To be able to read and discuss critically, verbally and in writing, advanced academic literature and evidence presented therein on electoral and party politics.

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

The module will be taught as a weekly one-hour lecture and one-hour class for ten weeks in the Spring Term. Students are expected to read for all classes.


  • McCormick, John. (2019) 'Voters', in Comparative government and politics: an introduction, London: Macmillan Education., pp.287-305
  • Mair, Peter. (2011) 'Party Families', in Representative government in modern Europe, New York: McGraw-Hill., pp.238-277
  • Richard S. Katz; Peter Mair. (1995) 'Changing Models of Party Organization and Party Democracy: The Emergence of the Cartel Party', in Party Politics. vol. 1 (1) , pp.5-28
  • Caramani, Daniele. (2016) 'Elections and Referendums', in Comparative politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Katz, Richard. (2016) 'Political parties', in Comparative politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Susan E. Scarrow. (2015) Beyond party members: changing approaches to partisan mobilization, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Caramani, Daniele. (2016) 'Party Systems', in Comparative politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Mair, Peter. (2011) 'Cleavage Structures and Electoral Change', in Representative government in modern Europe, New York: McGraw-Hill., pp.278-325
  • Hersh, Eitan D.; Schaffner, Brian F. (2013-04) 'Targeted Campaign Appeals and the Value of Ambiguity', in The Journal of Politics. vol. 75 (2) , pp.520-534
  • van Biezen, Ingrid; Mair, Peter; Poguntke, Thomas. (2012) 'Going, Going.. Gone? The Decline of Party Membership in Contemporary Europe', in European Journal of Political Research. vol. 51 (1) , pp.24-56
  • Scarrow, Susan E. (1996) Parties and their members: organizing for victory in Britain and Germany, New York: Oxford University Press. vol. Comparative European politics
  • Mair, Peter. (2011) 'Inside European Political Parties', in Representative government in modern Europe, New York: McGraw-Hill., pp.326-365-
  • McCormick, John. (2019) 'Political Parties', in Comparative government and politics: an introduction, London: Macmillan Education., pp.270-286
  • Allcott, Hunt. (2017) 'Social Media and Fake News in the 2016 Election', in Journal of Economic Perspectives. vol. 31 (2) , pp.211-236
  • European Consortium for Political Research. (1999) 'Party Cohesion, Party Discipline, and Parliaments', in Party discipline and parliamentary government, Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press. vol. Parliaments and legislatures series, pp.3-22
  • John D. May. (1973) 'Opinion Structure of Political Parties: The Special Law of Curvilinear Disparity', in Political Studies. vol. 21 (2) , pp.135-151
  • Denver, D. T.; Carman, Christopher J.; Johns, Robert. (2012) Elections and voters in Britain, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. vol. Contemporary political studies series
  • McCormick, John. (2019) 'Elections', in Comparative government and politics: an introduction, London: Macmillan Education., pp.252-269
  • Webb, Paul. (2000) The modern British party system, London: SAGE.
  • Alan Ware. (1996) Political parties and party systems, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • David Farrell; Paul Webb. (2000) 'Political Parties as Campaign Organizations', in Parties without partisans: political change in advanced industrial democracies, Oxford: Oxford University Press. vol. Comparative politics, pp.102-128
  • Kelly, Richard. (2010) 'The Worst of All Worlds? Electoral Reform and Britain's 2009 European Elections', in Political Quarterly. vol. 81 (1) , pp.99-106
  • Qvortrup, Matt. (2012) 'Voting on Electoral Reform: A Comparative Perspective on the Alternative Vote Referendum in the United Kingdom', in The Political Quarterly. vol. 83 (1) , pp.108-116
  • Bond, Robert M.; Fariss, Christopher J.; Jones, Jason J.; Kramer, Adam D. I.; Marlow, Cameron; Settle, Jaime E.; Fowler, James H. (2012-9) 'A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization', in Nature. vol. 489 (7415) , pp.295-298
  • Russell J. Dalton; David M. Farrell; Ian McAllister. (2011) Political parties and democratic linkage: how parties organize democracy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay     
Coursework   Moodle Quiz    30% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Iakovos Makropoulos
Module Supervisor: Iakovos Makropoulos (TBC@essex.ac.uk) / Module Administrator: Lewis Olley (govquery@essex.ac.uk)



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 523 hours, 10 (1.9%) hours available to students:
513 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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