Understanding Contemporary Britain - SOCI3430

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 4 15 (7.5) Kate Bradley checkmark-circle


This module introduces students to the history of Britain in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, through an exploration of changes and continuities across three themes:- the political world; the economy, and social life. The political world theme engages with the creation of a mass democracy in 1918, the varying fortunes of the political parties and Britain's changing place in the world. The economy theme explores the impact of depressions and recoveries, industrial relations, affluence and globalization. The social life theme draws out the human scale of such experiences, looking at changing social conditions, the experience of war and shifting social attitudes to gender, sexuality and religion. Students will consider the range of primary sources that historians use to analyse past events and processes, building skills in documentary analysis.


Contact hours

Total hours: 150
Total Contact Hours: 22
Private Study Hours: 128


BSc Social Sciences, including Pathways, Year in Professional Practice and Year Abroad; BA Criminal Justice and Criminology, including Year in Professional Practice and Year Abroad

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Coursework - Primary Source Exercise (1000 Words) - 40%
Coursework - Essay (2,500 words) - 60%

Reassessment methods

100% coursework

Indicative reading

Carnevali, F and Strange J-M, Twentieth Century Britain: Economic, Cultural and Social Change (Harlow: Longman, 2007)
Lowe, R. The British Welfare State since 1945, 2nd Edition (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2005)
McKibbin, R, Classes and Cultures: England 1918-1951 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998)
Morgan, K.O. Britain Since 1945: the People's Peace, 3rd Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)
Pearce, M. British Political History 1867-2001: Democracy and Decline 3rd Edition (London: Routledge, 2002)
Todd, S., The People: the Rise and Fall of the Working Class, 1910-2010 (London: John Murray, 2015)
Vernon, J., Modern Britain, 1750 to the Present. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016)

See the library reading list for this module (Medway)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

8.1 Demonstrate knowledge of the broad processes of social, economic and political change in Britain since 1900, of continuities and
8.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the historical and contemporary importance of developments such as the growth of trade
unions, the creation of the 'Welfare State' and the changing role of women in society.
8.3 Demonstrate knowledge of the historiography of the period with reference to specific historical debates.
8.4 Demonstrate knowledge of the variety of sources used by historians of contemporary Britain and the ability to evaluate how these are
8.5 Demonstrate a general understanding of the theory and practice of economic growth and industrialisation, and technical change and employment.

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to

9.1 Demonstrate the ability to organise information in written work.
9.2 Undertake research effectively using library resources and information technology.
9.3 Analyse and understand different sources of data.
9.4 Show an understanding of different schools of thought and the ability to distinguish them.


  1. Credit level 4. Certificate level module usually taken in the first stage of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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