Thatcher and Thatcherism (HIC3306)

StaffProfessor Alan Booth - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15.00
NQF Level6
Pre-requisites30 credits of History or Politics at level 1 or 2
Co-requisites30 credits of History at level 1 or 2
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This module examines the thought and practice of Thatcherism in the UK (and beyond) in the 1980s. It uses a wide range of primary sources (including biography, official publications, newspapers, television, official economic data) to understand the goals and record of Margaret Thatcher’s governments and their impact on British social, political and cultural life.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Understand the main themes in the discussion of the policy, philosophy and problems of British policy making in the 1980s and their impact on economic, social, and cultural life of the UK, both during the period of office of the Thatcher governments and in the longer term.
  • 2. deploy analytical insights drawn from the social sciences to understand complex political and economic behaviour in this period of British history
  • 3. Understand in depth the areas selected for essay and presentation work

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Formulate appropriate questions relating to a body of source material and utilize that material to answer these questions
  • 5. With minimum guidance, develop and sustain historical arguments in a variety of literary forms, using appropriate terminology
  • 6. analyse at a close and sophisticated level original sources and assess their reliability as historical evidence
  • 7. Evaluate critically the reasoning of discourses current in the period under study

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Combine independent, autonomous study with the ability to work collaboratively
  • 9. Set tasks independently and solve problems, formulating appropriate questions and marshalling relevant evidence to answer them
  • 10. With minimum guidance, digest, select and synthesise evidence and arguments to produce, to a deadline, a coherent and cogent argument

Syllabus plan

The module is taught through weekly lectures and two-hour seminars. The themes of the seminars are: narratives of ideology; narratives of consensus; the Falklands factors; foreign policy – the special relationship; family and welfare policies; the economy; the legacy – politics and the economy; the legacy – society and culture; presentations. Seminars will also involve the analysis of different types of sources.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
lectures11These provide the main outline of skills and knowledge that is required for this module and are delivered by the module leader. Further reading will be supplied on ELE and you will be expected to read widely around the lectures
seminars22These provide the main opportunity for student-led discussion of the modules themes and for group-work. Guided reading will be provided on ELE and you will be expected to prepare fully for these classes beforehand
Guided independent study267Guided study following the ranges of exercises, assessments and readings. Information on what is expected will be supplied through ELE

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Group seminar presentation30 minutes per group1-10Immediate verbal feedback from peers and tutor
Draft source commentary1,500 words1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10Written feedback through Turnitin
Draft Essay3,000 words1-7, 9, 10Written feedback through Turnitin

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio of source commentaries50Two pieces, each 1,500 words1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10Written and verbal comments on formal submission
Essay503,000 words1-7, 9, 10Written and verbal comments on formal submission

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Portfolio of source commentaries2 pieces, each 1,500 words1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10referral/deferral period
Essay 3,000 wordsEssay 3,000 words1-7, 9, 10referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Two assessments are required for this module. If you fail on the essay or the portfolio, you will be allowed to submit a revised versions in the referral-deferral period.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Basic reading: John Campbell, Margaret Thatcher, 2 vols (2000, 2003), Pimlico. Charles Moore, Margaret Thatcher, 2 vols (2013, 2015), Pimlico. Eric Evans, Thatcher and Thatcherism (2004), Routledge. Margaret Thatcher, The Path to Power (1995), HarperCollins Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (1993), HarperCollins Richard Vinen, Thatcher’s Britain (2010), Simon and Schuster ELE – Web based and electronic resources: Thatcher Foundation website (

Module has an active ELE page?


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources



Web based and electronic resources: Thatcher Foundation website (



Indicative learning resources - Other resources

My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) DVD Best of spitting Image (2006) ITV DVD

Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date


Key words search

Thatcher, Thatcherism, Conservative Party, neo-liberalism, neo-conservatism, consensus politics, contemporary history