Practical Politics

Lessons in power and democracy

Paperback / softback, 208 pages, 234 mm x 156 mm
1 Nov 2016
Trentham Books

Price: £24.99

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'Highly Commended' at the Education Resources Awards 2017.

Politics affects everything we do. Every citizen needs to understand how the system works and to learn the skills required to influence decisions. The world's most urgent problems are political; for democracy to work, everyone needs the ability to do politics as a basic skill, like reading and writing.

This comprehensive handbook, with its wide-ranging and intriguing case studies, provides the basic text for a new subject of practical politics that should be offered in every education institution. It affords insight into power and democracy at every level: family, office and state, and shows how education in practical politics can enable people to recognize and deal with political problems.

  • Titus Alexander

    Titus Alexander is founder of Democracy Matters and a Fellow of the Bernard Crick Centre for Understanding Politics at Sheffield University.

CONTENTS: Foreword by Peter Scott; Preface; 1. Introduction: Why we need education for practical politics; 2. What is politics, really?; 3. Politics as social problem solving; 4. Political arenas: Where politics happens 5. Political education of the powerful; 6. All politics is office politics; 7. Power and its uses; 8. The civic university: Practical political education by universities and colleges; 9. Foundations for learning democracy; 10. Whole life learning; 11. Making the case for teaching practical politics; 12. How to create a curriculum for democracy; Conclusion: Next steps; References; Index

'... this book is timely considering that there is a considerable surge in the number of people across the world, from the Middle East to the United States of America, who are interested in politics and determined to create structural changes in the established configuration of the socio-political and economic order.'

Abdulkerim Sen, UCL Institute of Education

‘This timely and provocative book shows why practical politics matters, and some of the ways higher education can strengthen democracy by developing education for practical politics across many subjects.’

Matthew Flinders, Chair, Political Studies Association; Director, Sir Bernard Crick Centre

‘Titus Alexander has a long and distinguished record of promoting the capabilities of citizens to affect outcomes in the state and in society. This book helps to explain why citizens who do wish to contribute in this way in democratic politics need to understand the dynamics of politics, and it helps us to educate the young in ways that will enable them to do this.’

Rt Hon Sir Oliver Letwin MP, Minister for Government Policy in the Cabinet Office, 2010–16

‘Education and engagement are … crucial to maintaining and renewing the democratic fabric of our country. This book contributes to … these critical challenges.’

Rt Hon David Blunkett, Secretary of State for Education, Home Secretary, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, 1997–2005

‘There are lots of books about political theory, ideas, policies and personalities, but this is one of the few which introduces the reader to the nuts and bolts of political life: a welcome contribution.’

Rt Hon Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, 2010–15

‘Practical Politics is a worthy successor to John Dewey's Democracy and Education, and comes at a critically important time in our history … I would recommend this book to every school board and teacher at every level of education, as well as to parents, to better and more clearly inspire young people to take part in the democratic life of our country.’

Dr Jane Bluestein, Author, The Win–Win Classroom and Creating Emotionally Safe Schools

‘There is some tremendously challenging and useful material here.’

Professor Hugh Starkey, UCL Institute of Education, London

‘This book is a must for those who know politics is far too important to be left to someone else and who want to get involved.’

Ruth Spellman, Chief Executive, Workers Educational Association

‘I’d definitely order copies for the library and recommend to my colleagues that teach both Year 1 British Politics, Politics of Protest and global politics.’

Dr Joanie Willett, Lecturer in Environmental Politics, Environment and Sustainability Institute, Exeter University

‘Every head of department and leader in higher education should read this timely book … One day all education will include democratic politics. Practical Politics: lessons in power and democracy is a good place to start.’

Dr Harold Goodwin, Professor of Responsible Tourism, Manchester Metropolitan University

‘It is not only a stimulating read full of real-world examples for students of education and politics, it is an invaluable resource for anyone dedicated to strengthening our democracy.’

Dr Brenton Prosser, Australian National University

‘Titus Alexander shows the diversity of politics in practice, from family relationships to global governance. Education in political skills is as important as business education, which has informed the cooperative movement from the start.’

Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK

‘This book encourages educators everywhere to think critically about how they can help people learn political skills to act as global citizens and solve problems of poverty, war and unsustainable growth.’

Professor Katarina Popovic, Secretary General, International Council for Adult Education

‘Education in practical politics, as advocated by this book, will give campaigners a solid grounding. There is growing demand for political skills across all sectors, so learning practical politics will improve people’s job prospects and go towards meeting the increasing demand for campaigning skills.’

Jonathan Dearth, Director, The Right Ethos