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Dr Richard Heffernan

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined The Open University in 1999 and have held visiting appointments at the Center for European Studies, Harvard University, the University of California, Los Angeles and the London School of Economics. I am presently a Visiting Professor at the University of Notre Dame.

Research interests

I work in the field of comparative politics and specialise in British politics. I am presently researching the British prime minister. and my research on this subject has produced several articles on this subject, among them 'Prime ministerial predominance? Core executive politics in the UK' (British Journal of Politics and International Relations 2003); 'Why the prime minister cannot be a president: comparing institutional imperatives in Britain and the US' (Parliamentary Affairs 2005); 'The prime minister and the news media: political communication as a leadership resource' (Parliamentary Affairs 2006); 'Exploring (and explaining) the prime minister' (British Journal of Politics and International Relations 2006); 'Tony Blair as Labour Party leader' (in Anthony Seldon ed Blair's Britain, Cambridge University Press 2007), (with Mark Bennister) 'Cameron as Prime Minister: TheIntra-Executive Politics of Britain's Coalition Government' (Parliamentary Affairs, 2012) and 'There's no need for any ization: The prime minister is only prime ministerial' (Parliamentary Affairs, 2012). I have previously published widely on the making of New Labour, and I am the author of New Labour and Thatcherism: Political Change in Britain (Palgrave Macmillan, 2001).

PhD supervision

Richard Heffernan welcomes applications from suitably qualified candidates to supervise PhD students in British politics, especially the form and function of the prime minister, executive politics, executive- legislative relations, political parties and electoral politics.

Heffernan, R (2012) 'There's no need for an -ization: The prime minister is merely prime ministerial' Forthcoming

Bennister, M and Heffernan, R (2012) 'Cameron as Prime Minister: The Intra-Executive Politics of Britain's Coalition Government', Parliamentary Affairs 65 (4) pp 778-800

Heffernan, R (2012) 'Enacting elections' in Banks, M  and Barnett, C (eds) The Uses of Social Science, Milton Keynes: The Open University

Heffernan, R (2011) 'Pressure group politics' in Heffernan, R, Cowley, P and Hay C (eds) Developments in British Politics 9, London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cowley, P, Hay, C and Heffernan, R (2011) 'A Landscape Without a Map: British Politics after 2010' in Heffernan, R (et al ed) Developments in British Politics 9,London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Heffernan, R (2011) 'Interest Groups and Interest Representation in UK Politics' in  Heffernan and Thompson (eds), Politics and Power in the United Kingdom (Second Edition), Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Heffernan, R (2011) 'Labour's new Labour legacy: Politics after Brown and Blair' Political Studies Review  9 (2) pp163-177

Heffernan, R (2009) 'British Political Parties' in Flinders M (et al ed) The Oxford Handbook of British Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press

Heffernan, R (2008) 'Over to you, Mr Cameron? Symposium on Anthony Giddens 'Over to you, Mr Brown' Political Studies Review 6 (3) pp 277-284

Heffernan, R (2006) 'The Prime Minister and the News Media: Political Communication as a Leadership Resource', Parliamentary Affairs  59 (4) pp 582-598

A repository of research publications and other research outputs can be viewed at The Open University's Open Research Online.

Teaching interests

I have worked on a number of OU modules including Governing Europe; Power Dissent Equality: Understanding Contemporary Politics; Living Political Ideas; Politics, Media and War: 9 11 and its Impacts; and The Uses of Social Science. I am presently the upcoming production chair of a new politics level two module which will replace Power, Dissent, Equality. And I am also an editor of and contributor to the well established undergraduate British politics textbook, Developments in British Politics (Palgrave Macmillan 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011). A completely new ninth edition, Developments in British Politics 9, was published in the summer of 2011.

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Centre for Citizenship, Identifies and Governance (CCIG)CentreFaculty of Social Sciences