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Dr Stephen Meredith

Senior Lecturer in Politics
School of Humanities, Language & Global Studies

Stephen is primary contact for Politics programmes in the School of Humanities, Languages and Global Studies. He teaches modules in British politics and political history and political ideas. Stephen has written and published extensively in areas of Labour and social democratic history and politics, the conceptual history of 'meritocracy' and Conservatism. He is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and was John Antcliffe Archives By-Fellow of Churchill College, University of Cambridge in 2018-19.

Stephen is course lead for BA Politics and BA History and Politics programmes. His teaching interests and expertise sit at the intersection of political history and ideas and political analysis. He delivers both core and optional modules covering political concepts, ideas and analysis and British politics and political history at all levels to undergraduate students in disciplines of Politics, History and Philosophy. Stephen teaches postgraduate History students and has successfully supervised a number of postgraduate and doctoral research students. Stephen has published book-length studies, book chapters and articles in leading History and Politics journals across a range of themes in the development of post-war social democracy and the twists and turns of Labour history and politics. His current research has explored the conceptual history and development of 'meritocracy', the work and ideas of its author, the social democratic polymath, Michael Young, and 'progressive' dimensions of post-war Conservatism.

Stephen’s current research examines ‘progressive’ dimensions of post-war Conservatism in response to the perceived ‘decline’ and ‘crisis’ of the British state from the 1960s and in the evolution and emergence of ‘Thatcherism’ in the Conservative Party and British politics. In so doing, it seeks to assess and explain wider ideological and political interactions and exchanges of the latter and wider origins and influences of ideas and policies of 'Thatcherism' itself. Stephen continues to work in related areas of Labour, social democratic and wider ‘progressive’ politics and political ideas. He has focused on various evolutions and transitions of post-war social democracy, reflected in work analysing Labour revisionist debates and divisions in the 1960s and 1970s over European membership, political economy and industrial relations and trade union reform, as potential longer-term antecedents of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and even ‘New’ Labour. Work has been published in leading journals, including 'British Journal of Politics and International Relations', 'Contemporary British History', 'Historical Research', 'Labour History Review' and 'Parliamentary History'. He is also the author of a book-length study, 'Labour's Old and New: The Parliamentary Right of the British Labour Party 1970-79 and the Roots of New Labour' (Manchester University Press, Critical Labour Movement Studies)

Manchester press, which has been described as 'an excellent academic study of Labour's parliamentary right in the 1970s. It is a bedside must-read for anoraks of Labour history...and insightful on many of the continuing debates that still perplex social democracy on the central importance of the EU, the modern role of the trade unions and reform of the state'. As well as studies exploring the multiple crises, divisions and revisions of post-war social democracy, he is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters concerned with issues ranging from transitions of ‘progressive’ politics in South Wales in the years following WW1, Michael Young as ‘progressive’ alternative to Labour’s ‘state-centric’ socialism, and the oratorical and oppositional dimensions of political leadership. He has recently written an overview of the conceptual history of Young's primary concept of 'meritocracy' for a special issue of the leading journal 'Political Quarterly', 'Meritocracy in Perspective'. Stephen has been awarded research funding from the British Academy and Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He was awarded a John Antcliffe Archives By-Fellowship of Churchill College, University of Cambridge in 2018-19 to conduct primary research for his current project and book-length study entitled, 'From the Big State to the Big Society: 'Progressive' Conservatism, Thatcherism and the State'.