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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2018/2019

Categories of Political Science

Category 'Best Course for Career Development'
Category 'Best Course for Broadening Horizons and Diversity of Knowledge and Skills'
Category 'Best Course for New Knowledge and Skills'
Type: Compulsory course (Political Science and World Politics)
Area of studies: Political Science
When: 1 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Language: English
ECTS credits: 5

Course Syllabus


The Categories of Political Science is an introductory course, aimed at providing students with basic knowledge on politics as the sphere of social activity and as an academic discipline. It aims at discussing the evolution of Political Science, the key political concepts, theories, institutions and processes are discussed in the global comparative perspective.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To give students a comprehensive overview of the basic scientific approaches to Political Science, its main theories and concepts
  • To develop the basic skills of describing and interpreting political and social processes in terms of Political Science concepts and theories
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Able to define basic characteristics of Political Science as a social science
  • Identifies and defines the basic concepts of Political Science
  • Enumerates and describes the main stages of Political Science development
  • Able to explain similiarities and differences between political regimes in terms of their competitiveness and institutional design
  • Applies the basic concepts and assumptions of the Political Science theories to describe political phenomena
  • Defines and illustrates the models of public participation in political process
  • Enumerate the main actors of the political process, their functions and modes of interaction
  • Enumerates the basic institutions of political process, their subtypes, advantages and disadvantages
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Political Science Basics
    Science and Scientific Explanation. “Clocks and Clouds” (Karl Popper). Scientific Categories. Classical Definition. Systems of Concepts. Ladder of Abstraction. Matrices. Paradigms. Politics. Policy. Polity. Political Science vs. Politic
  • Political Power and Legitimacy
    The State: Definitions and Theories. The Social Contract (T. Hobbes, J. Locke). The Monopoly on Violence (M. Webber). Stationary Bandits (M. Olson). The State and Modern Political Science. State Autonomy and State Capacity (B. Geddes, T. Skocpol). Political Power: Interpretations and Definitions. Despotic and Infrastructural Power (M.Mann). “Three Faces of Power” (S. Lukes). Legitimacy.
  • Paradigms of Political Science
    The Notions of Paradigm and Theory. Political Science Origins. Old Institutionalism. Chicago School. Behavioral Revolution in Political Science. System Approach and Structural Functionalism. Rochester School. Rational Choice. New Institutionalism and Its Variations.
  • Political Ideologies
    The Notion of Ideology. Liberalism. Conservatism. Socialism and Social Democracy. New Ideologies. Ideologies in the Modern World.
  • Political regimes: Democracies
    Political Regime: Definitions. Aristotle’s Six Types of Government. Classic Definition of Democracy. Minimalist Concept of democracy (J. Schumpeter). Electoral Democracy. Polyarchy (R. Dahl).
  • Hybrid and Authoritarian Regimes
    Totalitarian Regimes. Transition Paradigm and Hybrid Regimes. Types and Features of Authoritarianism. Electoral and Competitive Authoritarianism. Democratization of Authoritarian Regimes and Authoritarian Consolidation. Institutions in Autocracies. Legitimacy, Repression and Cooptation in Autocracies.
  • Division of power
    Horizontal Division of Power. Head of State, Cabinet, Assembly (Legislature) and their functions. Hierarchical and Transactional Division of Power. Systems of Government: Presidential, Parliamentary, Semi-Presidential systems.
  • Unitary and federal systems
    Types of state: Unitary, Federal and Confederative. Federalism: Background and Distinctive Traits (W. Riker, P. Ordeshook, D. Elazar). Decentralization in Unitary States. Federalism and Political Regime. Regional Policy
  • Political Culture and Human Rights
    Human Rights origins and contemporary interpretations. Human Rights generations. Discussion on the universality of Human Rights. Human Rights advocacy and political process. Civic / political culture (G. Almond, S. Verba). Parochial, Subject, Participant political cultures. Social Capital. Political Socialization. Civil Society and its dimension.
  • Judiciary, bureaucracy and the media
    Non – elective Institutions. Judiciary and its Political Functions. Types of Judicial Systems. Bureaucracy: Weber’s Ideal Type and Its Limits. Political Role of Bureaucracy. Mass Media, Social Media and Media Effects
  • Public Opinion and Interest Groups
    Public Opinion. Public Opinion Polls. Interest Groups and Advocacy
  • Parties and Elections
    Origins of Political Parties. Types of Political Parties: Mass and Cadre Parties (M. Duverger). Catch-all Parties. Parties vs. Interest Groups. Functions of Political Parties. Party Systems Classifications (M. Duverger, G. Sartori). Effective Number of Parties. Electoral System. Types of Electoral Systems: Plural, Proportional and Mixed. Electoral Formula. Interaction between Electoral and Party Systems: Duverger‟s Law. Electoral Engineering. Gerrymondering.
  • International Relations and World Politics
    International Relations vs. World Politics. International Relations: Discipline Development. Basic paradigms of International Relations: (Neo-) realism, (neo-) liberalism, constructivism, neo-Marxism. National Interest. Globalization.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Class Activities (Qclass)
    Lecturers evaluate students’ progress, including assigned readings comprehension and contribution to seminar activities, as well as the ability to answer seminar questions fully and correctly. Furthermore, the small quizzes might be given at selected seminar to assess the students progress (upon prior notification of students). Quizzes contain 5-6 questions (multiply choice, fill in the gaps, open questions), the marks for them are included into the assessment as 0,5 of the Qclass grade.
  • non-blocking Home Assignment (Qhome)
    Students are to make up and deliver a presentation devoted to a certain topic. The grade for this component is calculated as an average of the marks received for these presentations (rounding is arithmetic)
  • non-blocking Essay (Qessay)
    Each student is supposed to write an essay. The essay is to be submitted via LMS. In the essay a student is to demonstrate her / his basic abilities to formulate a research puzzle related to Political Science and to select a relevant theory to approach the puzzle.
  • non-blocking Final Test (Qfinal_test)
    The final test covers the materials from lectures and mandatory readings of all the course content, contains: - part A with 10 multiple choice questions 1 point each, 10 points in total - part B with 5 questions of other types (fill in the gaps, ordering, matching), the total number of points is 6. - part C with 1 open question (4 points)
  • non-blocking Exam (Qexam)
    Examination is carried out in written form and last for 2 academic hours. Students are informed about the final list of questions well in advance. At the exam a student receives a question card with two questions, and is to write down a small essay (narration) based on these questions.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    The final grade consists of the formative mark (50 %) and the summative (exam) mark (50 %). The formative mark is calculated as follows: Qaccumulative = 0,25*Qclass + 0,3*Qfinal_test + 0,2*Qhome + 0,25*Qessay


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Amadae, S. M., & Bueno de Mesquita, B. (1999). THE ROCHESTER SCHOOL: The Origins of Positive Political Theory. Annual Review of Political Science, 2(1), 269. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.polisci.2.1.269
  • Easton, D. (1969). The New Revolution in Political Science. American Political Science Review, (04), 1051. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.apsrev.v63y1969i04p1051.1061.26
  • Rhodes, R., Binder, S. A., & Rockman, B. A. (2015). The Oxford Handbook of Political Institutions. Australia, Australia/Oceania: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.655BAF4C
  • The Oxford handbook of comparative politics / ed. by Carles Boix . (2007). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.253058961
  • The Oxford handbook of international relations / ed. by Christian Reus-Smit . (2008). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.253060060
  • Weber, M., & Dreijmanis, J. (2008). Max Weber’s Complete Writings on Academic and Political Vocations. New York: Algora Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=221042

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Dahl, R. A. (1961). The Behavioral Approach in Political Science: Epitaph for a Monument to a Successful Protest. American Political Science Review, (04), 763. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.apsrev.v55y1961i04p763.772.12
  • Klingemann, H.-D., & Goodin, R. E. (1996). A New Handbook of Political Science. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=273524
  • Ostrom, E. (1991). Rational Choice Theory and Institutional Analysis: Toward Complementarity. American Political Science Review, (01), 237. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.apsrev.v85y1991i01p237.243.17
  • The Oxford handbook of transformations of the state / ed. by Stephan Leibfried . (2015). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.409903264