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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2018/2019

Comparative Politics

Area of studies: International Relations
When: 3 year, 3, 4 module
Mode of studies: Full time
Instructors: Anna Efimova
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6

Course Syllabus


The working language of the course is English. This course encompasses how we form or develop concepts of democratic political institutions and some of the different ways in which democracies can be organised. This course is designed in such a way as to acquaint the students with the functions of the important institutions in modern liberal democracies and demonstrate how essentially the same processes may work in entirely different institutional settings.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The main objective of the course is to familiarise students with the discussions in the area of Comparative Politics and enable students to adequately address the main questions such as the following: • What are political institutions and how are they studied?
  • • Why does democracy require institutions?
  • • How do institutions relate to legitimate political authority?
  • • How does political culture relate to institutions?
  • • What is the relationship between democratic government and legitimate authority?
  • How are democracies with presidential systems different from democracies with parliamentary ones?
  • • How do different electoral systems influence differences in party systems?
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students should be able to explain what is meant by political culture.
  • Students should be able to explain how political culture influences institutional behaviour.
  • Students should be familiar with the concepts of legitimacy and constitutionalism and how they relate to political culture.
  • Students should be able to explain how institutional stability and political legitimation interact.
  • Students should be able to explain how presidential systems differ from parliamentary ones.
  • Students should be able to explain the outcomes of presidential and parliamentary systems and compare them.
  • Students should be able to explain how political representation is organized.
  • Students should be able to explain the role of political parties in political representation.
  • Students should be able to discuss the idea and implications of within party democracy.
  • Students should be able to explain the concept of federalism and how it differs from local government.
  • Students should be able to analyze whether the EU is a federation or not.
  • Students should be able to explain the relationship between elective and non-elective dimensions of the democratic state.
  • Students should be able to assess advantages and disadvantages of clientelism and semi-clientelism.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • #1 Modes of comparing political systems: Legitimacy, institutionalism and political culture
  • # 2 Modes of comparing political systems: Comparative politics and political culture
  • #3 Legitimacy, constitutionalism and political culture: Legitimacy and constitutionalism
  • #4 Legitimacy, constitutionalism and political culture: Constitutionalism, political culture and cultural conflict
  • # 5 Comparing executives: presidential and parliamentary systems (the concepts)
  • # 6 Comparing executives: presidential and parliamentary systems (advantages and disadvantages)
  • # 7 Electoral systems and party systems: organising political representation
  • # 8 Electoral systems and party systems: political parties
  • # 9 Electoral systems and party systems: democracies within parties and between parties. Political parties in new democracies.
  • # 10 Levels of government: local and federal
  • # 11 Levels of government: local, federal and transnational
  • # 12 Bureaucracy and the democratic state
  • # 13 Bureaucracy and the democratic state: clientelism and semi-clientelism
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking 3rd Module seminar activity
  • non-blocking 4th Module seminar activity
  • non-blocking 3rd Module MOCK exam
  • non-blocking Final UoL Exam
  • non-blocking 4th Module MOCK exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.15 * 3rd Module MOCK exam + 0.2 * 3rd Module seminar activity + 0.15 * 4th Module MOCK exam + 0.1 * 4th Module seminar activity + 0.4 * Final UoL Exam


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Heinelt, H., Egner, B., & Bertrana, X. (2016). Policy Making at the Second Tier of Local Government in Europe : What Is Happening in Provinces, Counties, Départements and Landkreise in the On-going Re-scaling of Statehood? London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1061410
  • Leonardo Morlino, Dirk Berg-Schlosser, & Bertrand Badie. (2017). Political Science : A Global Perspective. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=2273334
  • Maggetti, M., & Braun, D. (2015). Comparative Politics : Theoretical and Methodological Challenges. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1105387
  • Niskanen, W. A. (2017). Bureaucracy and Representative Government. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1608574
  • Strohmeier, G. (2015). Does Westminster (still) represent the Westminster model? An analysis of the changing nature of the UK’s political system. European View, 14(2), 303–315. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12290-015-0368-0
  • The Oxford handbook of electoral systems / edited by Erik S. Herron, Robert J. Pekkanen, and Matthew S. Shugart. (2018). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.50224433X
  • Tong, D. V. aut. (2019). Introduction to Comparative Political Culture : The Theoretical Reflection on the Plurality of Democracy / by Dezhi Tong. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.510620094

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Barisione, M., & Michailidou, A. (2017). Social Media and European Politics : Rethinking Power and Legitimacy in the Digital Era. London, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1362963
  • Bonneau, C., & Cann, D. (2015). Party Identification and Vote Choice in Partisan and Nonpartisan Elections. Political Behavior, 37(1), 43–66. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11109-013-9260-2
  • Croissant, A. V. (DE-588)120357321, (DE-627)080624138, (DE-576)178221074, aut. (2018). Comparative politics of Southeast Asia an introduction to governments and political regimes by Aurel Croissant, Philip Lorenz. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.496911902
  • Laffin, M. (2018). Beyond Bureaucracy? : The Professions in the Contemporary Public Sector. Abingdon: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1984789
  • Qingmin, Z. (2016). Bureaucratic Politics and Chinese Foreign Policy-making. Chinese Journal of International Politics, 9(4), 435–458. https://doi.org/10.1093/cjip/pow007
  • Reinhard Steurer, & Christoph Clar. (2015). Is decentralisation always good for climate change mitigation? How federalism has complicated the greening of building policies in Austria. Policy Sciences, (1), 85. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11077-014-9206-5
  • Scott Gehlbach, & Alberto Simpser. (2015). Electoral Manipulation as Bureaucratic Control. American Journal of Political Science, (1), 212. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12122