2nd April 2004
As more than 500 of the nation’s top political scientists prepare for their annual conference in Lincoln new figures show that interest in politics is booming in Britain.
Applications for politics degrees at British universities are up 18 per cent – that’s a rise five times higher than the general upward trend in applications which went up this year by 3.8 per cent.
The new interest in politics may have been stimulated by controversial issues such as terrorism, extremism, intelligence failures, migration and asylum-seekers – all of which will form a major part of the discussions at next week’s conference at the University of Lincoln.
A keynote address will be given by terrorism expert Professor Paul Wilkinson of the Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St Andrews.
Professor Wilkinson, regarded as Britain’s leading academic expert in the field, will issue a warning about the dangers posed by current anti-terrorism measures which seriously threaten human rights on a large scale. He sees America’s detention of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay as a glaring example of how terrorism should not be tackled.
Professor Wyn Grant, who chairs the Political Studies Association, believes that the continuing rise in interest in studying politics among young people can be attributed to
growing interest not just in British politics, but in what is happening globally.
“The rise appears to us to result from world events since 9/11 and concerns about social justice in a more globalised world, together with an interest in democracy at home,” he says.
“UK politics departments are recruiting successfully from across the world and this diverse and cosmopolitan intake adds to the interest of studying the subject.”
The annual conference of the Political Studies Association takes place at the University of Lincoln from Monday 5th until Thursday 8th April 2004.
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