- Department: Politics
- Module co-ordinator: Dr. Adam Fusco
- Credit value: 20 credits
- Credit level: H
- Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
This module examines the constitutional political ideologies which have structured and restructured the territorial politics of Ireland and the UK. From Union, through Irish partition and independence, devolution, and the Good Friday Agreement, to Brexit and Scotland’s potential secession from the UK, this module examines the arguments and thought used to justify claims for constitutional change and defend the status quo on these islands.
|A||Semester 1 2023-24|
2022 marks the 100 year anniversary of the Irish Free State’s secession from the United Kingdom. It also marks the creation of the current territorial configuration of the UK. For the first 50 years following the IFS’s secession from the Union, British policy makers assumed the ‘Irish question’ closed - an attitude that was not entirely overcome with the onset of Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’. It has only been in the last decade that constitutional politics has come to the forefront of the British political imagination with Brexit and to a particular extent the issue of Scottish independence. What Brexit has recently illustrated is that Irish politics is not discrete from the constitutional fundamentals of the UK polity, nor is constitutional politics a one-off or peripheral issue, but a live and central concern in these islands. This serves as the departure point for this module which examines the constitutional ideologies that have structured and restructured the territorial configuration of these islands - Unionism(s); Irish Republicanism(s); British, English, Irish and Scottish nationalisms to name a few. The module will examine the ways in which the polities of Ireland and the UK have been made and remade, asking questions including whether Ireland’s departure from the Union was an act of decolonisation; if power-sharing in Northern Ireland and Brexit are democratic; and if Irish unity and Scottish independence should take place. The module takes an interdisciplinary approach drawing on literature and methods from Irish, British and intellectual history, democratic political theory, comparative political science and law. The module should be of interest, therefore, to hist-pol students and those who have enjoyed studying political theory and comparative and British politics at stages one and two.
Demonstrate knowledge of the constitutional ideologies which structure politics on these islands, both historically and in application to contemporary debates
The ability to appreciate and critically evaluate the arguments presented by these positions
Present arguments and advanced ideas from the module in summative written work
Work independently to set goals and objectives in order to solve problems through gathering and analysis of relevant literatures
Work independently in light of the values of tolerance and inclusivity, and recognise the ethical and political implications of holding differing constitutional positions
Likely structure to include:
Union or internal colony?
Home Rule all round? Devolution in the British Empire and UK
Good Friday Agreement
UKEXIT (or ‘Brexit’ so called)
British nationhood and Scottish independence
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Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s feedback and guidance hours.
Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s regular feedback and guidance hours.
Bourke, R. (2003) Peace in Ireland: The War of Ideas. London: Pimlico.
Whyte, J. (1990) Interpreting Northern Ireland. Oxford: Clarendon.
Kenny, M. (2014) The Politics of English Nationhood. Oxford: OUP.
O’Leary, B. (2019) A Treatise on Northern Ireland. Oxford: OUP.
Colley, L. (2014) Acts of Union and Disunion. London: Profile.
Jackson, B. (2020) The Case of Scottish Independence. Cambridge: CUP.
McHargh, A., Mullen, T., Page, A., & Walker, N. (2016) The Scottish Independence Referendum. Oxford: OUP