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Comparative Politics A

Please note that while Comparative Politics A in the MT is scheduled to cover the comparative politics of democracies while Comparative Politics B in the HT is scheduled to cover the comparative politics of the developing world, staffing and other constraints may require that the subject matter of these modules is switched, i.e. that the developing world will be covered in Comparative Politics A in the MT and the comparative politics of democracies will be covered in Comparative Politics B in the HT. Thank you for your understanding.

Module Code: POU22031

Module Name: Comparative Politics A 2021-22

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 1 (see note above)
  • Contact Hours: 22 hours lectures + fortnightly tutorials; 5 hours of tutorials
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Lisa Keenan
  • Module Prerequisite: either PO1600 Introduction to Political Science or PO1603 Politics and Irish Society
  • Module Co-Requisite: POU22032 Comparative Politics B

Learning Outcomes

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

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

Module Learning 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

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

Assessment Details (TBC)

Tutorial participation: 10%; remaining assessment will include at least one essay and may include a 90 minute end of term examination. Subject to confirmation in the course syllabus.

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