The PSA Conservatives and Conservatism Special Group aims to encourage the creation and dissemination of high quality research on all aspects of conservatives and conservatism.
We also aim to create a sense of identity and common purpose among those interested in a part of the political spectrum that has attracted far less scholarly interest than its obvious electoral and philosophical importance merits, and to that end we take a supportive approach in order to encourage engagement with conservatives and conservatism studies across the many levels of academic development.
Conservatism is one of the oldest and most influential philosophical positions in the world. In the UK, the Conservative Party is the most successful but probably the least studied major party in British politics. Similarly, conservative political thought and the ideology of the centre-right has been somewhat neglected relative to the left of the political spectrum. The PSA specialist group for the study of Conservative politics and conservatism (C&C) was set up in late-2008 by Professor Tim Bale (the first convenor) as a much-needed step towards addressing these deficiencies. This was a timely decision as conservatism and the Conservative Party were seeking to renew themselves in anticipation of a return to government at the national level, leading to heightened scholarly and public interest in the subject. The result of the 2010 general election ensured the continuing centrality of this field of academic enquiry to the study of British politics and public policy.
The advent of Brexit and the Trump presidential campaign demonstrate how conservative politics has significant potential to impact. These recent events highlight the importance of research in the area of conservatives and conservatism.
The PSA Conservatives and Conservatism Specialist Group is a supportive collection of thinkers dedicated to encouraging the creation and dissemination of high quality research on all aspects of conservatives and conservatism.
In October 2016, the group announced its new team.
New convenors Dr Anthony Ridge-Newman, Lecturer at the University of Roehampton; and Dr Alan Convery, Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, have published extensively on conservative politics.
Anthony’s two monographs, with Palgrave Macmillan, analyse the role of new media in Conservative Party change across distinct periods in its history.
Alan’s work on the Scottish and Welsh Conservatives includes a recent book on devolution and party change with Manchester University Press.
New publicity officer David Jeffery, Queen Mary University of London, is writing a PhD about Conservative electoral decline in Liverpool.
The new team have a range of fresh ideas for the group.
These include developing opportunities for research impact and knowledge exchange between scholars, political actors, conservative parties and think tanks.
While maintaining the group’s traditions, the new team sees an opportunity to expand the scope of the group and broaden the understanding of what conservatism is.
It is an interesting time to be studying conservatism, which is not only changing in the UK and US, but also across Europe and other regions of the world.
Less obvious political actors, like, for example, the conservative wings of religious organisations, can play roles in influencing agendas and public policy. Moreover, the powerful conservative media conglomerates are thought to dominate global discourse. These examples alone provide opportunities for much need analysis.
The group aims to take a supportive approach in order to encourage engagement with conservatives and conservatism studies across the many levels of academic development.