International Social and Public Policy with Politics Personal Statement
Submitted by Lauretta
Growing up in social housing, I was aware of the many inequalities that exist in society. My family was engaged in activism and I was encouraged to take part in human rights campaigns on a local and international level. Through these formative experiences, I have developed a concern for the distribution of power and justice in contemporary society. In the past year, I have taken an active role in supporting Anti Raids, who campaign for the rights of businesses who are vulnerable to recent changes in immigration policy.
I also volunteer for North London Action for the Homeless, who campaign against the deportation of EU nationals. Last year, I worked on a research project for a leading art consultant on civil liberties in Syria, which developed my interest in the relationship between international and domestic politics and how the development of social policy can affect a globalised world. Direct contact with those living on the ever-widening spectrum of precarity has raised my understanding of the impact of local, national and international policies and I now have a more immediate grasp of how political, social and economic structures work, especially during this time of increasing turbulence and uncertainty.
My philosophy A-level introduced me to the ethical and historical scope of politics, particularly through the ideas of Locke and Plato. When studying utilitarianism, for example, I became aware of the challenges that face those in positions of power as they try to balance what is morally 'right' with the common preferences of society. This resonates strongly now, with the rise of populism in Britain, in the US, and across many European nations. Through studying drama I became interested in Theatre of the Oppressed, a participatory mode of politicised theatre developed by Augusto Boal, which galvanised and engaged those experiencing military dictatorship. This introduced me to the importance of ideas in shaping the outcomes of political structures and relations.
Both A-levels gave me the skills to speak up for my own beliefs and to distil and present complex information and arguments. My analytical abilities have advanced through studying English literature as I explored the different perspectives and historical contexts of a wide range of texts. I also developed an interest in political dialects through studying Machiavelli's 'The Prince'. I read widely, and books which have recently influenced my interest in political theory include E.H. Carr's 'The Twenty Years' Crisis' and Srnicek and William's 'Inventing the Future'. This book reflects on the 'folk' politics of the left which they argue need to be re-cast to effect structural, global change.
Published in 2015, it is extraordinary to see how the political landscape has changed in just two years. I take an active interest in local and parliamentary politics through engaging with platforms such as Politics Review, and through a correspondence with my local MP which I have kept up for over three years. This year, away from formal education, I will expand my political contribution and knowledge and engage in debates surrounding ideas of liberty and rights. I have started an internship at the Free Representation Unit, a legal aid charity, where I experience how legislation can be used to encourage the development of societal relations.
My ongoing interest in the law has led me, over the past year, to want to broaden my understanding of justice. In addition to this, I will continue to improve my French and to further my interest in food sustainability by supporting NLAH. I am equipped for and excited about the intellectual challenges that this course presents and I am determined to gain the knowledge and skills that will enable me to embark on a career dedicated towards positive social change.