The University of Sheffield
Department of Politics

Academic Staff: Matthew Flinders

Picture of Professor Matthew FlindersProfessor Matthew Flinders, B.A. (Loughborough), Ph.D.(Sheffield) 

Professor

Telephone: +44 (0)114 222 1680
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 1717
Room: G.65 Elmfield

Email : m.flinders@sheffield.ac.uk

Profile

Professor Flinders studied Modern European Studies at Loughborough University before coming to the University of Sheffield to complete his doctorate in public policy and governance. He was appointed to a permanent Lectureship in 2000 (Senior Lecturer 2003, Reader 2005, Professor 2009). He was Sub-Dean for Graduate Affairs during 2004-2005 and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences 2005-2006. He was a Governor on the Board of Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust between 2008-2011 and Deputy Head of the Department of Politics between 2008-2012. Professor Flinders is also on the Executive Committee of the Political Studies Association. In addition to his academic work Professor Flinders is a writer and broadcaster and has made numerous contributions to national newspapers, including The Times and The Guardian, and in 2011 he wrote and presented a three-part series for BBC Radio 4 entitled ‘In Defence of Politics’.

Prizes and Fellowships

Teaching

One of the best parts of being an academic is being able to teach and inspire students. My approach to teaching has always been based on the need to challenge and stimulate students and this is reflected in the
way I approach both big lectures and small seminars. I have taught POL113 ‘Introduction to Political Analysis’ in the department for over a decade and still get nervous before every lecture. I also teach a number of more specialist third-year and MA modules on delegation, governance, comparative politics and public policy.

My teaching is very much informed by my research and I always try and ground complex theories or concepts by providing real-world case studies or examples. My lectures have been known to include piano recitals (very bad), jokes (very bad) and magic tricks (quite good). It was an enormous honour for me when I was awarded the University Teaching Prize in 2010.

Professor Matthew Flinders suggests that we may need to rethink our relationship with politicians and engage differently with the political process.
More Politics Brought to Life videos

In seminars I try and get everyone involved in discussions and exercises. I have high expectations about what students should do to prepare for classes and I am a great believer that teaching is a reciprocal relationship. My main teaching innovation at the moment is developing a new third-year module on Parliamentary Studies that will be delivered in association with the Outreach Team of the Houses of Parliament. This is a new innovation that seeks to offer theoretically-informed but policy-relevant teaching for students that bridges politics ‘as theory’ and politics ‘as practice’.

Professional Service to Governmental and Parliamentary Bodies

Current Research

Professor Flinders is currently working on the following issues: modes of depoliticisation; governance and public policy; legislative studies with a focus on parliamentary scrutiny of the executive and the extended state; majoritarian modification and constitutional reform; territorial and functional decentralisation; the politics of patronage and public appointments; and a set of broader issues that rotate around the theme of political disengagement.

Key Publications

Click here for Professor Flinders' full list of publications.

PhD Supervision

Professor Flinders is keen to supervise research students in the following areas (broadly defined): modes of depoliticisation; governance and public policy; legislative studies with a focus on parliamentary scrutiny of the executive and the extended state; majoritarian modification and constitutional reforms; territorial and functional decentralisation; multi-level governance; patronage and public sector reform; and, the politics of delegation.

Professor Flinders is currently supervising three doctoral students, and has previously supervised eleven students to successful completion of their Ph.D or M.Phil qualifications.