Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC1023: Participating in Politics

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.


NQF Level 4
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Professor Clare Saunders (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


Political participation is crucial for the healthy functioning of democracies. Yet political participation is changing: political party membership in western democracies has been declining (although the Labour Party in Britain is an important exception) at the same time as electoral participation has generally waned. As participation in electoral politics has tailed off, newer forms of political engagement such as engaging in protests and signing petitions have appeared to be on the rise. This alleged trend in which unconventional political participation is seen as a replacement for conventional (electoral) participation is known as the ‘Democratic Phoenix’ (Norris 2001). In this module, you will examine trends in political participation in western democracies to assess the Democratic Phoenix theory. You will critically assess whether it is true that non-conventional political participation has come to surpass electoral participation. You will engage in at least two acts of political participation and evaluate the efficacy of your actions using knowledge and concepts gained in lectures and seminars.

No prior knowledge, skills or experience are required to take this module and it is suitable for specialist and non-specialist students. This module serves as a complement to: ‘British Politics and the Policy Process.

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