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Comparative Politics A: The Comparative Politics of Democracies

Module Code: PO2150

Module Name: Comparative Politics A: The Comparative Politics of Democracies 2018-19

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Michaelmas Term
  • Contact Hours: 22 hours lectures + fortnightly tutorials; 5 hours of tutorials
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Professor Gail McElroy
  • Module Prerequisite: PO1600
  • Module Co-Requisite: PO2151

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Describe and assess the study of comparative politics in a systematic, social-scientific way
2. Examine key issues in the comparative politics of industrialized democracies
3. Identify interesting research questions in comparative politics
4. Explain the importance of institutional design and the consequences of various institutional choices

Module Learning Aims

Aims:  This module aims to build students’ understanding of the basics of comparative politics, research methodology and argumentation in political science, with particular reference to industrialized, advanced democracies.

Module Content

The module is an introduction to the study of comparative politics and provides an overview of some of the key theoretical frameworks, concepts, and analytical methods of this field of study. We study democratic political systems with a view to understanding and explaining their differences and similarities with respect to their political institutions, the behaviour of their key political actors, and their policymaking processes and performance. 

The module examines the building blocks of the comparative approach. We describe, explain and examine the consequences of different political institutions, with a focus on established democracies, including executive-legislative relations, electoral systems, and strong judiciaries.

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Recommended Reading List

1. Caramani, Daniele. Ed. 2017. Comparative Politics (4th edition). Oxford University Press.
2. Michael Gallagher, Michael Laver and Peter Mair. 2011. Representative Government in Modern Europe. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill, Fifth edition.

Assessment Details

Tutorial participation: 10%;

Essay 1: 45%;

Essay 2: 45%


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