Course Description

Course Name

After the Golden Age: the Political Economy of Britain since the 1970s

Session: VGSS3120

Hours & Credits

20 Scotcat Credits

Prerequisites & Language Level


From the 1950s until the 1970s Britain enjoyed a 'golden age' of low unemployment, low inflation and respectable growth rates. But from the 1970s the economy was much less stable and by some measures, such as unemployment, performance seriously deteriorated. This course analyses the forces at work in creating this instability, and the responses by successive governments to the economic problems they faced. It deals with the political and ideological underpinnings of policy, and also assesses the ways in which narratives about policy were constructed and deployed in order to sustain public support.

Weekly sessions will include analysis of the 1976 IMF 'crisis', the rise of neo-liberal economic thinking, the policies of the Thatcher government, the economics and politics of 'globalisation', and the distinctive approach of New Labour to economic issues. The final part of the course will deal with the 'great complacence', the ensuing financial crisis of 2007/8, and the responses to that crisis.

One two-hour examination from which two questions must be answered = 60% (especially related to ILOs 1,2,3, 5)
One essay, selected from questions given at the end of each weekly
lecture/seminar reading list (2,000-2,500 words, excluding bibliography) = 25% (especially related to ILOs 1,2,3, 5)
One project report (1,000-1,500 words, excluding bibliography) = 15% (especially related to ILOs 1,2,3,4)

*Course content subject to change