Dr Simon Usherwood
Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching), Senior Lecturer
Qualifications: PhD (LSE), DEEA/MA (College d'Europe, Bruges), BA (UCL), PGCAP (Surrey)
Phone: Work: 01483 68 9962
Room no: 02 AD 04
After study in the UK, Germany and Belgium and with a keen interest in embedding the study of Politics in a wider context, my work at Surrey since I joined in 2003 has been focused not only on my research on the EU, but also on enhancing the learning environment for students.
My research on euroscepticism has built on the ideas in my doctoral work and has led me to co-found and organise an extensive network of colleagues across Europe, as well as working with practitioners in the EU, national government and other civil society groups.
The formation of the School in 2004 gave me the opportunity to bring in many new ideas in pedagogy, something that remains at the forefront of my work as Director of Learning & Teaching. Working with counterparts across the University and in other institutions, and informed by my research, teaching quality enhancement has been a consistent theme of my activities.
- Opposition to the European Union and Euroscepticism: The main thrust of my research falls into this area, looking at how oppositional groups organise, operate and impact on the European integration process. In particular, I work on groups in the UK, France and operating at a European level, as well as an emerging strand of research on how the EU and national governments might engage with sceptical voices. In addition to numerous publications on the subject, I am also coordinator of the UACES Collaborative Research Network on Euroscepticism, which has some 120 members and organises regular events.
- European Politics: More generally, I have on-going research interests in the operation of the EU as a whole. This is reflected in my work with John Pinder on "The European Union: A Very Short Introduction" (OUP) and on my regular blog postings at Politics@Surrey.
- British Politics: focusing mainly on the relationship between the EU and the UK, I have also worked on more general questions in relation to the latter.
- Negotiation-based teaching methods: My teaching at Surrey has allowed me to both try out various innovative pedagogies and to use them as a basis for research. In addition to my publications in this field, I also regularly blog on the Active Learning in Political Science site, with colleagues from the US.
Current collaborations include:
- 'The Shifting Focus of Opposition to the European Union'. UACES Journal of Contemporary European Research, 9 (2), pp. 279-296.Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/804217/
Using France and the UK as case studies, this paper discusses how the focus of groups opposed to European integration has changed over time. Such groups often claim to have a generalised or ideological opposition to the European Union, but in practice it is apparent that particular issues arouse most attention. The article covers the period since the mid-1980s, to show how the relative importance of different elements has changed over time, both for anti-EU group formation and changes in groups’ activities. Most notably, this change has been informed by two key factors. Firstly, an incomplete (or biased) view of the EU system repeatedly draws groups’ attention to otherwise minor topics, often taking them to be symbolic of wider developments (e.g. harmonisation of standards). Secondly, groups’ interest is highest in projects when they are not fully decided (e.g. membership of the Euro or the constitutionalisation process since Laeken). The overall picture that emerges is one of groups rationally concentrating their efforts on targets that offer the most unambiguous case for an alternative policy at the point of greatest leverage in the policy-making cycle. This underlines the dynamic nature of opposition to the EU and the fundamental link between that opposition and the EU itself.
- 'Assessment in Simulations'. Journal of Political Science Education, 9 (2), pp. 157-167. . (2013)
- 'Euroscepticism as a Persistent Phenomenon'. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, . (2012)
- 'British Government and Politics: Balancing Europeanization and Independence'. WILEY-BLACKWELL JCMS- Journal of Common Market Studies, 49 (3), pp. 693-693. . (2011)
- 'The Medial Profile of Anti-EU Groups in the UK'. Nova Science Publishers Current Politics and Economics of Europe, 19 (3/4), pp. 151-178.Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/235574/
The UK has the most fully developed set of anti-European Union groups of any country, from national political parties through to local grassroots organisations and sectoral lobbies. For most of these groups, the media plays a central role in their work, enabling them to reach audiences much greater than otherwise possible. In this paper, the profile of such groups in the national print media will be considered, using frequency analysis. This analysis demonstrates that coverage, while generally increasing over time, remains very uneven and episodic, both in time and between groups. These findings are further backed up by study of discourse markers. Differences between newspapers are discussed, with particular reference to the general political affiliation of the newspaper, as well as its position on European integration. The paper concludes by considering the consequences of this pattern of media coverage for anti-EU groups at a time when the integration process would appear to be particularly susceptible to expressions of opposition.
- 'Grounding simulations in reality: A case study from an undergraduate politics degree'. On the Horizon, 17 (4), pp. 296-302.Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/235573/
Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to address the issue of how best to reproduce realistic reproductions and outcomes in the dynamic environment of a simulated negotiation on a political theme. Design/methodology/approach - Using a case study run by the author of a university undergraduate negotiation module, qualitative data are provided to support a pragmatic model of addressing issues of realistic behaviour and outcomes. Findings - Through a combination of elements - notably, integration of more conventional academic research, use of repeated points of contact between students and the module leader, and extensive reflection after the exercise by the student - it is possible to provide for a simulation that more closely follows real-world outcomes than would otherwise be the case. Research limitations/implications - The use of a single case study clearly limits the ability to generalise and implies the need to replicate the work in new iterations and in new contexts. Practical implications - The paper highlights the importance of grounding simulations in reality, if they are to maximise their utility as a teaching practice. It also stresses the high level of engagement, not only on the part of the students, but also on the part of the module leader, who must be an active part of the simulation structure. Originality/value - The consideration of a continuous process of grounding simulations in reality is one that has not been explored by the existing literature, so it offers useful insights into practice that will be of value to both practitioners and theorists in the field. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
- 'Enhancing student immersion in negotiation-based learning environments'. International Journal of Learning, 16 (7), pp. 607-614. . (2009)
- 'The dilemmas of a single-issue party: The UK Independence Party'. Taylor & Francis Representation, 44 (3), pp. 255-264.Full text is available at: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/235575/
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has been one of the most successful single-issue parties in modern British political history. With its central policy of withdraw from the European Union, UKIP was the third largest party in the 2004 European Parliament elections. However, this article highlights the tensions that exist within the party, in terms of strategy, focus and even its objectives. From its foundation in the early 1990s, the party has been placed in a position equivalent to the Fundi-Realo debate in the German Green party of the 1980s: does the party strive for ideological purity and singularity of purpose, or does it work within the system it professes to abhor? The article considers the different pressures placed on the party, considering both environmental constraints placed on it by the institutional system and the internal ideological currents at play. These internal and external factors help to explain the party’s dilemma and point towards some possible future paths.
- 'Proximate factors in the mobilisation of anti-EU groups in France and the UK: the European Union as first-order politics'. Journal of European Integration, 29 (1), pp. 3-21. . (2007)
- 'The Development of anti-EU Groups in the UK since the 1980s: an overview'. European Journal, 12 (3), pp. 7-9. . (2005)
- 'Realists, sceptics and opponents: opposition to the EU's Constitutional Treaty'. Journal of Contemporary European Research, 1 (2), pp. 4-12. . (2005)
- 'Why is the British Left so poorly mobilised against the EU?'. The European Journal, 12 (4), pp. 10-13. . (2005)
- 'Bruges as a lodestone of British opposition to the European Union'. Collegium, no. 29, pp. pp5-p16. . (2004)
- 'Opposition to the European Union in the UK: The dilemma of public opinion and party management'. Government and Opposition, 37 (2), pp. 211-230. . (2002)
- 'Building resources for simulations: Challenges and opportunities'. Mainz: EU Simulations: Scholarly reflection and research on an innovative teaching methodology .
- 'Uploading the New European Union: Denmark, Ireland & the UK as Constitutional Entrepreneurs'. UACES, Woburn House, London: 40 years since the First Enlargement .
- 'L'enfer, c'est les autres: Othering in Eurosceptic discourse'. Belfast, UK: Political Studies Association . (2012)
- 'Euroscepticism as a Persistent Phenomenon'. Cambridge, UK: University Association for Contemporary European Studies . (2011)
- 'Enhancing Student Immersion in Negotiation-based Learning Environments'. Albuquerque, USA: American Political Studies Association Learning & Teaching Conference . (2011)
- 'Negotiation-Based Learning: Objectives, Strategies, Challenges'. London, UK: C-SAP/JISC Conference on Open Educational Resources . (2010)
- 'Constructing Effective Simulations of the European Union for Teaching: Realising the Potential'. Bruges, Belgium: University Association for Contemporary European Studies . (2010)
- 'UKIP's Political Strategy: Opportunistic Idealism in a Fragmented Political Arena'. Bruges, Belgium: University Association for Contemporary European Studies . (2010)
- 'Tactics or strategy? The debate on use of a referendum for British ratification of the Constitutional Treaty'. Angers, France: University Association for Contemporary European Studies . (2009)
- 'Tactics or strategy? The debate on use of a referendum for British ratification of the Constitutional Treaty'. Angers, France: University Association for Contemporary European Studies 15th Research Conference . (2009)
- 'Enhancing Student Immersion in Negotiation-Based Learning Environments'. Barcelona, SPain: 16th International Conference on Learning . (2009)
- 'Strange bedfellows: the sources of pressure for referenda on British ratification of EU treaties'. Edinburgh, Scotland: University Association for Contemporary European Studies 14th Research Conference . (2008)
- 'Proximate factors in the mobilisation of anti-EU groups in France and the UK: the European Union as first-order politics'. Bologna : Politics: European Consortium of Political Research 2nd Pan-European Conference on European Union Politics . (2004)
- 'Left-wing opposition to the European Union in the UK: explaining its underdevelopment'. Lincoln : Politics: Political Studies Association 54th Annual Conference . (2004)
- 'The shifting focus of opposition to the European Union'. Newcastle : Politics: University Association for Contemporary European Studies 9th Research Conference . (2003)
- 'Opposition to the EU in France: A challenge to French leadership?'. Belfast : Politics: University Association for Contemporary European Studies 8th Research Conference . (2002)
- 'The European Union as an issue in french politics'. Bordeaux : Politics: European Consortium of Political Research 1st Pan-European Conference on European Union politics . (2002)
- 'Opposition to the EU in the UK'. Manchester : Politics: Political Studies Association 51st Annual Conference . (2001)
- 'Opposition to the EU in France and the UK'. Canterbury : Politics: European Consortium of Political Research 1st General Conference . (2001)
- 'Sceptical or Simply Opposed? Eurosceptics and the EU's Constitutional Treaty'. in Cohen A, Vauchez A (eds.) La Constitution européenne: Elites, mobilisations, votes Brussels, France : Editions de l'Université de Bruxelles Article number pp.167-180 . (2007)
Introduction to European Integration (HE1); Negotiating Politics (HE3); EU Policies (HE5).
Introduction to Politics; Comparative Politics; The State and European Integration; Public Policy & Administration; British Politics; Terrorism & Counter-Terrorism; Integration of Europe; Political Economy of European Integration; German Politics.
- Deputy Head of School since 2008
- Director of Learning & Teaching since 2011
- University Teaching Observer since 2007
- Centre for Educational & Academic Development Faculty Scholar 2008-2011
- Chair of E-Learning Technologies Advisory Group, 2008-10
- Surrey Centre for Excellence in Professional Training and Education (SCEPTrE) Fellow 2007-8
Current or Recent Professional Activity
University Association for Contemporary European Studies (former committee member); University Association for Contemporary European Studies Student Forum (former Chairman); Political Studies Association; Higher Education Academy.