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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2020/2021

Introduction to 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'
Area of studies: Foreign Regional Studies
When: 1 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Instructors: Ksenia Andruschenko
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4

Course Syllabus


This is a required course for HSE dual degree program students. We will study the basics of politics as has existed in human society from time immemorial. We will learn why politics came about, how it has been institutionalized, and how it affects both the government, non-governmental actors, and you. Above all, students are expected to acquire a theoretical framework with which they could analyze any political systems in the global village and apply their knowledge to reality wherever they may go. The course will be conducted in the form of lectures and discussions so that students must read assignments before class. You are also expected to study comprehensively those terms, names, and events that appear in the text.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To understand what politics is
  • To understand why politics (r)evolves as it does
  • To acquire theoretical framework and methodology to analyze politics
  • To build capacity to apply political science to reality
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students should be able to evaluate the several explanations of political power, justify the claim that political science may be considered as a science, evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of several theoretical approaches to political science.
  • Students should be able to explain the difference between political theory and ideology and name its main elements.
  • Students should be able to explain the difference between apolitical theory and ideology, distinguish between classic and modern liberalism, contrast Burke and conservatism with its current variety.
  • Students should be able to describe the institutionalization of power and the types of states.
  • Students should be able to distinguish between constitutions and statutes, explain the purposes of constitutions, explain the variety of “rights” in the modern world.
  • Students shall write a movie essay.
  • Students should be able to distinguish political culture from public opinion, explain how a country’s political culture can change over time, distinguish between elite and mass political subcultures, explain the effects of sharply distinct minority subcultures within a nation, list with examples the main agents of political socialization.
  • Students should be able to define interest groups and distinguish them from political parties, explain the relationship between interest groups and democracy, list, with examples, the factors that make interest groups effective, explain the several strategies interest groups use, explain and give examples of how interest groups may become too strong.
  • Students should be able to explain the function of political parties as inputting devices, review the variables that predict who is most likely to vote and why, contrast presidential and parliamentary systems.
  • Students should be able to compare and contrast presidents and prime ministers, evaluate the charge that the U.S. presidency has become too powerful, contrast cabinet ministers in parliamentary systems with departmental secretaries in the U.S. system.
  • Students should be able to explain the connections between politics and the economy, review the many U.S. economic problems since the 1960s.
  • Students should be able to discuss economic policies on the basic level and suggest solutions for the most common problems.
  • Students should be able to explain the relationship of legitimacy to system breakdown, review the several types of violence and what causes them.
  • Students should be able to define and give examples of terrorism, explain the stages revolutions are likely to go through and analyze the present era, whether it is revolutionary or post-revolutionary.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Syllabus and Introduction
    This week is devoted to the Introduction to Politics and Political Science. The questions we cover include what politics is, what theories political scientists use. All organizational issues are also discussed during this week,
  • Political Theories. Group Project Briefing
    During this week we cover behavioralism, new institutionalism, systems theory, rational choice theory, and the normative study of politics.
  • Political Ideologies
    This week covers the material of the introduction to ideologies. It discusses what ideology is, what can be regarded as ideology, and the history of major ideologies. We cover the main ideas from liberalism, conservatism, socialism, social democracy, communism and nationalism.
  • State-building
    This week we explain with explore the institutionalization of power, distinguish between effective, weak and failed states, contrast unitary and federal systems, explain the relationship between electoral systems and party systems, delineate the ways the state may relate to the economy.
  • Political Regimes
    This week covers the major political regimes: democratic, transitional, authoritarian, and totalitarian and connects theoretical examples with empirical cases.
  • Movie Screening and Discussion
    Students watch and discuss the selected movie. They also get instructions on how to write a movie essay.
  • Political Culture and Political Communication
    Political culture searches for a given society's broad, general views on government and politics. Political culture is learned chiefly from the family, sometimes bolstered by overt socialization in schools. On the other hand, Public opinion looks for specific views on leaders and problems; it changes faster and it is much narrower.
  • Interest Groups
    Interest groups are the foundation of pluralism. They can also be created by government programs. Sometimes they work in favor and sometimes they work against democracy.
  • Political Parties, Elections and Legislatures
    Parties and Elections are one of the basic topics in Political Science. Political parties can be classified in many different ways and their structure is connected with the type of election system present in the country.
  • Executives and Bureaucracies
    This week we explore how parliaments came to be, the difference between the presidential and parliamentary system, the major drawback of coalition governments and the role of the executive branch of power.
  • Political Economy I
    This is the introduction to the connection between the economy and politics. During the class, we study how Marx, Mill, and Smith all wrote about political economy and the conflict between Keynesianism versus neoclassical economists.
  • Political Economy II
    We explore inflation, tax hike, the balance of payments, floating the dollar, wage-price freeze, oil shocks, stagflation, interest rates, tax cuts, budget deficit, trade deficits and their connection to politics. We also discuss the question of poverty and what the optimal size of government should be.
  • Political Violence I
    This week we study what makes political violence different from other types of violence and learn how to classify political violence. We start to investigate types of violence according to Fred von der Mehden.
  • Political Violence as State Decay
    We continue studying political violence by going into details about terrorism and revolutions. In the end, we finalize what we have learned during this class by discussing globalization and its connection to political violence.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Final Exam
  • non-blocking Home Assignments
  • non-blocking Class Participation
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.3 * Class Participation + 0.4 * Final Exam + 0.3 * Home Assignments


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Roskin, M. G. (2014). Political Science: An Introduction, Global Edition (Vol. Thirteenth edition). New York: Pearson. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1419818

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • 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