Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Normally entry to SH, JH, Major/Minor BA/BSc geography
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 20 Hours. 18 x 50 minutes lectures to include discussion, delivered in 10 x 2 hour sessions
Seminars / Tutorials 2 Hours. 2 x 30 minute Seminar sessions 1 x 30 minute supervisory tutorial per student enrolled - requiring a written outline and oral presentation of the research assignment


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Independent Research Assignment  2500 words  IGES policy on the late submission of work will apply to the coursework assignment  40%
Semester Assessment Seminars  Contributions to discussion in seminars and through oral presentation of the research assignment proposal  10%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Unseen Examination  Complete two from four questions set  50%
Supplementary Assessment Independent Research Assignment  Resit on condoned (medical) grounds arising from non-completion of examination or coursework involves the completion of the missing component(s) for the full range of marks on dates set in the Supplementary Examination period. Resit due to aggregate failure or non-completion of part of the assessment requires re-examination of each of the main components if marks of <40% in both were obtained, or re-examination or resubmission of the failed component (examination or assignment) to obtain a maximum mark of 40% for the module. The assessments for examination and research assignment remain identical to the Semester Assessment. As no oral assessment is included in the Supplementary Examination, these two components constitute 100% of the resit assessment.  2500 words.  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Unseen Examination  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate and critically evaluate the role of the State in encouraging local citizen participation through policy initiatives

2. Discuss the role of Civil Society in developing local empowerment and the 'capacity to act' by citizens

3. Evaluate the effectiveness of participatory strategies in a range of territorial contexts and for different social fractions

4. Show competence in undertaking an individual, 'policy-focused' research assignment evaluating local participation in policy, planning and regeneration strategies

5. Participate in discussion and undertake an oral presentation on their research proposal

Brief description

This module addresses a key theme in contemporary socio-political geography through a critical evaluation of public policy and planning initiatives that are currently practiced to encourage residents to participate more directly in decision-making in their local areas.

Drawing on a range of policy initiatives and evidence from both rural and urban settings, the opening section of the module discusses the changing nature of 'communities' and neighbourhoods and the consequences that arise for local participation. It then describes and evaluates the nature of contemporary participation in local politics and government, in local voluntary associations and in a range of community regeneration initiatives. This evidence provides a critical insight into the level of participation that is occurring and the policy that has encouraged such engagement.

These themes lead to a theoretical and conceptual reappraisal of the changing relations between the State and civil society apparent in contemporary policy; to a discussion of the importance of concepts of governance and governmentality in the understanding of these changes; to the new expectations of citizenship that are being promoted and to a consideration of the geographically uneven outcomes of such practices. This raises further questions for consideration: namely what are the consequences that arise from a policy emphasis with a strong community and neighbourhood focus, what might be the most appropriate routes through which to encourage local leadership and active citizenship and how, in such a context, to address issues of social exclusion. The module concludes with a discussion of the new spaces of citizenship that are emerging.


Section A: Policy and Practice
  • Exploring participation, place and policy: government, governance and governmentality
  • Perspectives on community - people 'of place' and people 'in place'
  • Participation in local community politics - town, parish and community councils
  • Engaging the community: endogenous development, the voluntary sector and local leadership
  • The state and civil society: the practice of partnership working
Section B: Theory and Policy
  • Civil Society, Citizenship and active engagement
  • Coping with Exclusion
  • Stimulating and developing local leadership
  • Engaging the Local: policy and the practice of Government
  • Spaces of Citizenship and local governance

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students may employ appropriate numerical information in the 'policy report'.
Communication Oral communication will be practiced and developed through four discussion sessions, two seminars and an oral presentation in the supervisory tutorial. Writing skills will be assessed through the examination and 'policy assignment'.
Improving own Learning and Performance Attendance at the lectures, participation in the discussion sessions, seminars and through the supervisory tutorial will provide experience and feedback encouraging the development of this skill. Students will be expected to undertake a significant amount of self-directed study during the module.
Information Technology Many of the research assignments will require facility in the use of web-based resources. All research assignments will be word-processed and may use other IT packages as part of their presentation of results. These skills learnt in other contexts will be practiced in the delivery of the assignment.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is intended to raise questions about the nature of citizenship, in doing so, this may inform the personal development of those who participate. It also discusses themes that offer potential career opportunities for graduates studying the discipline.
Problem solving The identification of research questions and finding routes to address them will be encouraged in the discussion sessions prior to the requirement to submit a research proposal - Weeks 1-4 - these sessions should develop strategies for problem solving implicit in the research assignment.
Research skills Existing research competencies will be developed through the supervisory tutorial and practiced in the preparation of the 'policy-related' research assignment.
Subject Specific Skills The module consolidates established subject-specific skills rather than developing new capacities. These will be employed in both the examination and research assignment task.
Team work The seminars will provide the opportunity for small group research and the collaborative presentation of findings. This will not be assessed, though the fluency of individual oral participation will be evaluated in the seminar contributions made.


This module is at CQFW Level 6