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The University of Southampton

PAIR6010 Governance and Policy

Module Overview

This module seeks to explore the theory and practice of governance through conceptualisations, approaches, and case studies, and to consider how these ideas affect our understanding of public policy making. It seeks to examine governance as an academic concept and also how it applies to contemporary policy-making and processes at different levels. Looking at collective decision making in societal systems or organisations, the module explores how power is distributed, who is involved in decision making, and how policy is implemented. The module encourages reflective thinking about the complexities of governance and the challenges to institutional forms of governance, and to the difficulties inherent in the public policy process. In particular, it seeks to explore and analyse governance processes and approaches in a range of settings through specific case studies

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This modules aims to explore, from a theoretical/analytical and empirical perspectives, the key concepts, theories and mechanisms that describe governance and policymaking processes. The module draws on empirical case studies that comprise Europe, Latin America, Britain as well as other regions/countries.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of a range of approaches to understanding governance.
  • Demonstrate ability to critically analyse the debates surrounding governance, how it is conceptualised, and how we understand its operation in contemporary societies.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the impact of modern governance practices on public policy making.


The syllabus content will encompass three distinct sections: conceptualisations of governance; approaches to governance across various sub-disciplinary areas; and case studies of the challenge of governance across a range of policy fields

Special Features

The practice of using some variation of a policy paper has been used elsewhere in PAIR modules, at both UG and PG level, and has been commended by students and external examiners alike. Incorporating a policy briefing style of assessment into this core module ensures students are able to build their MSc degree around areas of interest to them across the School. Examples of this kind of policy analysis work will form part of the module content, and thus provide a illustrative template for students to use in their own policy paper.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods


Independent Study150
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Rhodes, R.A.W. (1997). Understanding Governance. 

Chhotray,V. and G. Stoker (2009). Governance Theory and Practice. 

Kooiman, J. (2003). Governing as Governance. 

It is likely that some additional books will be required for the library in order to support this module.. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 40%
Policy brief 40%
Presentation 20%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 50%
Policy briefing  (2500 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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