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Department of Political Science

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Parliaments, Political Parties & Policy Making

Course Code

PUBL0033

Course Tutor

Professor Meg Russell (Department of Political Science)

Assessment

One 1,000 word essay (30%) and one 2,000 word essay (70%)

Credit Value

15

About this course

This course explores the role and functions of legislatures and the parties that dominate them in the modern state. Taking a comparative approach, illustrated with numerous case studies of different countries, it asks which factors matter to the role of parliaments/legislatures today.

Does it, for example, matter that just 23% of the world's legislators are women? Why do some parliaments have two chambers rather than one? How do parties choose the people who make up the majority of parliamentarians? What influence does party discipline have on the functioning of modern parliaments, and does the dominance of parties in the legislative process exclude citizens? 

What factors influence parliaments' strength with respect to their core functions of scrutiny, law making and representation, and how much of a policy difference do they make? By taking a joint focus on parliaments and political parties the course gives an insight into some of the most important functions of both, and of how public policy is made.