Module Details

GV545-7-SP-CO: Democracy, Citizenship And Constitutions

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2017/18
Department: Government
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: Yes

Supervisor: Dr Natasha Ezrow
Teaching Staff: Dr Natasha Ezrow
Contact details: Dr Natasha Ezrow nezrow ( or Graduate Administrator, Alex West awestb (add

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This module examines the nature and value of democracy, and the various roles played by citizens and constitutions in sustaining it. Students will explore different justifications for democracy, the problems of defining who are citizens, what their rights and duties are, how they should be represented, and which decision rule and voting procedure best reflects their collective views. They will also study the ways law and politics interact, and the role played by constitutions and judicial review in shaping the legislative process. Some practical examples of these theoretical issues will be drawn from debates in Britain about the Human Rights Act, devolution and other changes to the political and constitutional arrangements of these islands.

Module Aims:
To provide students with an overview of contemporary theories of democracy, citizenship and constitutions, and develop their ability to apply them to the analysis of the democratic and constitutional arrangements of Britain.

Module Objectives:
By the end of the module, students should have attained:
1. a clear grasp of certain key concepts and assumptions within democratic, citizenship and constitutional theory;
2. an understanding of some of the main contemporary theories and theorists of democracy, citizenship and constitutions
3. knowledge of some of the main theoretical debates around the nature and future of democracy, citizenship and the constitution in Britain.
4. an ability to construct theoretically informed, empirically backed arguments pertaining to the democratic politics of Britain.

Key Skills
The course develops certain crucial transferable skills in the areas of communication, working with others, improving own learning and performance, IT, and problem solving.

Students should improve their critical analysis in discussion and written work, independent research, collaborative learning and effective oral communication, use of information technology and data collection, organisation and time management, the ability to develop a logical, coherent and well-supported argument, and confident engagement with complex issues.

Learning and Teaching Methods

2-Hour Seminar


60 per cent Coursework Mark, 40 per cent Exam Mark


Exercise 20%, Essay 40% - 60%m in-Class Test 40%

Other details

1.5 hour end-of-year exam - 40%

Exam Duration and Period

2:00 during Summer Examination period.


  • H Catt, Democracy in Practice
  • R A Dahl, Democracy and Its Critics
  • M Saward, The Terms of Democracy
  • A Weale, Democracy
  • R Blaug and J Schwarzmantel, Democracy: A Reader
  • D Oliver, Constitutional Reform in the UK

Further information