Understanding British government: Analysing competing models

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Bevir and Rhodes' interpretive approach underpins the Differentiated Polity Model (DPM) which has replaced the Westminster Model as the dominant model of British politics. This article critiques both the interpretive approach and the DPM, arguing that the latterfails to recognise the continued importance of the role hierarchy, inequality and a dominant political tradition play in British politics, omissions which result, in large part, from its roots in an interpretist position. As such, the main aim of the article is to defend an alternative conception of British politics, the Asymmetric Power Model (APM), by considering three empirical areas in which these two models differ substantially: whether hierarchy or networks are the dominant mode of governance in the UK; the extent and importance of structured inequality in the UK; and whether there is a dominant tradition in British politics.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-268
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008


  • models, british politics, epistemology