2020 Undergraduate Dissertation
The students of the 2019-20 graduating cohort produced fascinating work on a range of issues from local to global politics.
Many students focussed on the UK and investigated a range of issues, such as public policy – whether that was the application of dispersal policies or the analysis of policy ideas:
· To what extent was the Big Society a policy failure or success?
· An exploration of post-industrial councils and how they integrate asylum seekers into their communities in the age of superdiversity
Northern Ireland and the relative success of the Good Friday Agreement, including its constitutional arrangement were discussed:
· Feeding the Crocodile that Ate Unionism: to what extent has the Good Friday Agreement 1998 facilitated a rise in Irish nationalism in Northern Ireland
· How far has power-sharing facilitated trust in NI? An examination of public attitudes concerning the NI Assembly, PSNI and cross-community relations
In these turbulent times, issues such as terrorism, security, political freedoms, and political engagement across the political spectrum were central concerns that were explored in range of ways – from a detailed analysis of secondary data to interviews and focus groups with students:
· What perceptions do university students within the UK have on mass surveillance? Which, if any, factors affect this?
· Referendum to Rebellion. Cause-oriented engagement, youth leadership, and decentralisation: how have these factors influenced youth political engagement in the UK throughout the 2010s?
· It’s grim up North: An investigation into the socioeconomic drivers of right-wing extremism in the North East of England
· What is the impact of the IHRA definition of Anti Semitism upon Jeremy Corbyn supporters criticism of the state of Israel?
The security issue of our time continues to be play a key role in students’ research, specifically the way in which the UK government has conceptualised counter-terrorism policy and how this policy and media reporting influences our collective understanding of terrorists and British society
. A ‘root cause’ analysis of contemporary terrorist attacks in the UK and its implications for counter terrorism strategy
· Feeding a culture of fear? A comparative analysis of two British newspapers investigating the portrayal of Islam when reporting on terrorism
· A study into whether the British government’s Prevent strategy has the ‘potential to alienate and radicalise the British Muslim population’
· The ‘Othering’ of Muslims in Ideological Institutions: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Orientalist Representations in the Aftermath of the 2019 London Bridge Attack
The media was a significant concern for many students, from traditional print media to social media. Students asked how these means of representation and interaction shape political processes and outcomes, whether that is ‘new’ political actors (women) and movements or ‘old’ constituents (the working classes):
· How personality traits influence a political campaign on Twitter: A case study on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 2018 run for House of Representatives
· A New Dawn of Democratic Crisis? Did the US presidential election in 2016 verify and exacerbate the growing belief that the rise of social media is creating a new crisis of democracy?
· The motive behind the headline: exploring the framing of the working classes as the undeserving ‘other’ by the British tabloid media
· Producing Protest News. How the protest paradigm influenced the coverage of the 2019 climate change protest
· An evaluation of Herman and Chomsky’s propaganda model and its ability to explain the behaviour of the Sun newspaper in response to both the Manchester Arena bombing and the London Bridge attack during the run-up to the 2017 UK general election
The hot spots of international relations continue to fascinate, with several students writing about the Middle East:
· What are the roles and impacts of proxies in the Syrian conflict?
· Have international relations between the United States, Russia and Middle Eastern states contributed to the conflict in the region?
· To what extent will the United Nations be able to facilitate the attainment of global peace for the United Kingdom, with reference to the Middle East
· The reasons for the invasion of Kuwait
However, emerging powers and the changing global order also faced critical enquiry:
· The Alchemy of Money and Power. How might the ‘new silk roads’ affect US hegemony?
· All Roads Lead to China. To what extent is China’s Belt and Road initiative an imperialist foreign policy?
Students research a range of issues in Europe and around the world:
· Portrayals of development through a post-colonial scope: a content analysis of a for-profit international volunteering organisation
· An exploration of the influence of member state nationalism on the European Union’s attempts to address the 2015/16 European refugee crisis
· To what extent can the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect be classified as an international norm?
· Analysing Eastern communist countries foreign policies, why they make changes to them, how they affect their domestic policies and if it is the case that Western hegemonic actions has forced these changes and has negative effects on the citizens of these nations
· Transitional justice initiative in Bosnia and Herzegovina: evaluating the impact of international transitional justice on inter-ethnic reconciliation