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Trimester One readings:

It’s January 2023, which means it would be wrong to start my first blogpost of this year without saying Happy New Year. The new year brings a period of new beginnings but without first taking time for reflection on what you’ve achieved in the previous year and deciding on your new direction for the year ahead. For me and my PhD journey, that reflects what I’ve read in the first part of my PhD.

In preparation for my PhD, I read two books that provided me with some background information. The first was ‘A History of Modern Britain’ by Andrew Marr and the second was ‘The Prime Minister: The Office and It’s Holders Since 1945’ by Peter Hennessy. In a previous post on my PhD Instagram account, I mentioned this and how I found this to extremely beneficial, as I haven’t done any British Political History since I was at school. I also spent the Summer of 2022 reading sources I had previously included in my bachelors and masters dissertations. My key readings over the summer were focused on the 2010 Ethnic Minority British Electoral Study. For anyone interested in ethnic minority voting behaviour, reading the papers written by David Sanders, Maria Sobolewska, Stephen D. Fisher, and Anthony Heath gives the reader a strong foundation of knowledge – which can then be built on.

By the time the start of term came around, I was in a good position to use what I had read as a springboard but focused my readings on the works of four academics.

The first, Dr. Christopher Pich whose work looks at political party branding. I found this to be incredibly interesting, and his work made me question what I thought I already knew. What’s more, in the context of post-Brexit and the political realignment we’re experiencing – it makes sense that parties go through rebranding, to make them more accessible to card-carrying party members and the general electorate, to send a strong message that they can be relied on.

Leading on from Dr. Christopher Pich is Professor Andrew Gamble. Gamble has written fantastic articles on the current climate of British Politics. It’s eye-opening and explains how we got to the situation we’ve experienced and for me personally, my entire time at university has been overshadowed by Brexit. Thinking back to being amid completing my degree, it was overwhelming, and we were asking questions like “what’s going to happen next?”, “how much longer can this government survive?”, and “can they really survive?” Having said that, the works of Professor Gamble provides a detailed understanding that has provided me with a clearer understanding.

Next, Professor Tim Bale who is one of the leading academics on the Conservative Party – my research is going to focus on the Conservative Party so his work is providing me with arguments that as a party member, I know I don’t think about. Just on the note of Professor Tim Bale, at the end of the last trimester, he was the guest speaker for the Annual Norton Lecture where he gave his insight into The Conservative Party after Brexit: Mainstream or Radical Right? It was a real pleasure to hear his thoughts and I know I definitely need to read more of his work.

The final academic whose work I’ve found to be particularly useful is Professor David Denver, particularly his book on Elections and Voting Behaviour in Britain (1994). I found this to be very useful because, at the time, ethnic minority voting behaviour wasn’t considered an important aspect that needed to be looked at. What I’ve learnt during my time in academia, is even if a piece of work doesn’t explicitly link to your own research – it’s still valuable because there are always questions to be asked.

And on that, over the next few weeks I’ll be setting out what I plan on reading in 2023 – but for now, do ensure you follow my PhD Instagram account (@PhDwithZeena) and follow me on Twitter (ZMistryResearch).

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