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Rebecca Baker

Associate Lecturer in Politics and Enhance

Rebecca is an Associate Lecturer in Politics and International Relations and previously had an additional role within Project Enhance, working on the digitalisation of teaching and learning. Rebecca teaches political theory, contemporary politics, International Relations and Public Policy at undergraduate level, as well as supervising students in their final year and Masters dissertations.   

Her research interests focus on empirical and conceptual democratic theory and the interaction between these. Rebecca’s current work explores how the liberal dominance in conceptualisation of democracy within state apparatus can lead to exclusion from democratic life, and the impact of this on young people and their politics.

Methodologically, Rebecca is a mixed methods researcher, prioritizing the addition of contextualising qualitative-based narratives to quantitative data. 

Research interests

My broader research interests centre around the conceptualisation of democracy and the ways in which it works, or doesn’t, in the ‘real world’. This includes exploring Euro-American dominance of democratic conceptions, democracy promotion in the Middle East and North African region, and the role of conceptualisation in Public Policy development and implementation. 

Current Research:

Participation Through Political Education: a route to improving democratic quality in the UK?

Funded through the Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship for Post-Graduate Research

The research seeks to examine the relationship between youth engagement, civic education and exclusion in democratic discourse and practice. It posits an alternative framework for approaching the causes of youth disengagement in the political life of the UK, identifying key barriers to participation, as being linked to underlying exclusion caused by the conceptual rigidity in discourse and practice.

Testing this through application to citizenship education as a flagship policy for re-engagement, a short-course civic education intervention, directly informed by a series of focus groups with the target demos was delivered across FE provisions in Devon and Cornwall and measured through a multi-time survey. A set of mini-lab style experiments were utilised to explore the role of conception in the perceived value of democracy and citizenship education. The work is situated within the broader context of the apparent decline in democratic quality in the UK, in relation to participation and representation. 


After leaving the Southwest to study in London I soon returned to teach and conduct research closer to the sea.

A PGCE qualified lecturer, I previously worked as an Associate Lecturer in Politics at the University of Plymouth, teaching International Relations Theory and Democracy and Democratisation. Before moving into academia, I was a Lecturer and Associate Examiner in English and International Relations History, receiving awards for Services to Examining and ‘Outstanding’ ratings for my teaching practice.

Twitter: @RMJBaker



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