Professor Charles Pattie

Charles Pattie

Room number: E9
Telephone (internal): 27947
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7947
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7947

Charles Pattie is a graduate of the Universities of Glasgow (BSc Geography, First Class Hons), and Sheffield (PhD). After completing his PhD studentship, he was employed as a researcher at the University of Sheffield for three years before being appointed in 1989 to a lectureship in Geography at the University of Nottingham. In 1994 he returned to Sheffield as a Senior Lecturer in Geography, was promoted to a Readership in 1999, and to a personal Chair in 2000.

Research Interests

Electoral geography; electoral redistricting; parties and party campaigning; citizenship and participation; the politics of devolution in the UK.

Current research

Charles' main research area is in electoral geography and political participation. Ongoing work with colleagues at the University of Bristol studies the impact of a variety of local contextual effects on voting choices. For instance, our research shows voters are influenced not only by their personal prosperity or by their estimations of the state of the national economy, but also by their perceptions of the state of their local and regional economies: people living in areas which are seen to be declining are less likely to vote for the party of government, other things being equal, than voters in more affluent areas.

Our work has also helped change contemporary understanding of electoral campaigning, as we have shown that constituency campaigning still matters, even in an era of highly centralised national campaigns driven through the mass media. And we have looked at the effects of voters' relationships with other citizens: in particular, we have focussed on conversations between voters, showing that people are influenced by those they discuss politics with.

In addition to this interest in contextual effects in electoral behaviour, Charles has also undertaken research into other aspects of the political system. With colleagues in Sheffield, he conducted a major study of social capital, citizenship and public participation in the UK (resulting in the publication of a major research monograph in 2004). Another ongoing line of research (with colleagues in Bristol and Leeds) has looked at the operation of electoral systems, with particular emphasis on electoral bias (the extent to which an electoral system systematically favours one party over another) and on the redrawing of constituency boundaries. He has also conducted several projects (with colleagues in Lancaster and Strathclyde) on the politics of devolution in the UK.


Most of my teaching draws on my substantive research interests in political and electoral geography, or on my methodological expertise in quantitative methods and multivariate statistical analysis. My political and electoral geography courses are taught through lectures, seminars and a focus on the relevant research literature, with a strong emphasis on current events and developments. Throughout, the modules emphasise the various ways in which geography affects political behaviour, and vice-versa.

My statistics teaching combines lectures, practicals and seminars. I strongly believe that statistics courses can be rigorous without being frightening, and can even be weirdly enjoyable. My stats modules try to put that into practice by focussing on clear explanation of methods and hands-on analysis of interesting real-world examples and situations using relevant methods, with a lot of emphasis on the substantive geographical meaning of the results – what do the analyses reveal about how the world works?

Charles teaches on a range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses including:

GEO103 Region, Nation and World
GEO231 Socio-spatial Analysis
GEO243 Political Geographies
GEO327 Electoral Geographies

GEO6011 Politics, Place and Governance
GEO6025 Quantitative Analysis for SASI 2

All staff also engage in personal supervision and tutoring of individual students at all three undergraduate levels in the following modules:
GEO163 (Information & Communication Skills for Geographers)
GEO263 or GEO264 (Research Design in Human or Physical Geography)
GEO356 (Geographical Research Project)

Key Publications

  • Pattie, C.J., Denver, D., Johns, R. and Mitchell, J. (2011). Raising the tone? The impact of positive and negative campaigning on voting in the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election. Electoral Studies, 30(2), 333-343.
  • Pattie, C.J. and Johnston, R.J. (2009). Conversation, disagreement and political participation. Political Behavior, 31(2), 261-285.
  • Pattie, C.J. and Johnston, R.J. (2009). Still talking, but is anyone listening? The changing face of constituency campaigning in Britain, 1997-2005. Party Politics, 15(4), 411-434.
  • Johnston, R.J. and Pattie, C.J. (2006). Putting Voters in their Place: Geography and Elections in Great Britain, Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN: 978-0-19-926805-4
  • Pattie, C.J., Seyd, P. and Whiteley, P. (2004). Citizenship in Britain: values, participation and democracy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN-10: 0521827329

Other information

Charles is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties and Space and Polity. In Sheffield, he teaches undergraduate modules in social and political geography, quantitative methods, and electoral geography. He is also involved in research training and supervision of postgraduate students.