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Regular version of the site
Bachelor 2022/2023

Comparative Politics

Type: Compulsory course (Political Science)
Area of studies: Political Science
When: 2 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of all HSE University campuses
Language: English
ECTS credits: 5
Contact hours: 58

Course Syllabus


Comparative politics is the study of comparing different countries and units in a systematic manner. It encompasses broad and diverse issues such as political regimes, institutions, degrees of democracy and democratization, political economy, social movements, and political violence. Besides providing useful comparisons across seemingly different political units, this sub-field can also inform debates about designing new political orders. As such, it is a rich and varied field that cannot be accurately characterized on the basis of just one dimension or topic. That is why this course should be seen as a sampling of the field rather than an exhaustive review.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The first purpose of the course is to introduce basic concepts and theories of the comparative politics.
  • The second one is to give students the training to read academic texts critically and understand the basic arguments.
  • The third one is to provide students with the broadest possible coverage of both classical and contemporary research in the sub-field.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Explains the key concepts of terrorism
  • Explains real reasons for terrorism;
  • A student has the ability to discuss basic notions about federalism and how is it different from decentralization and logically formulate, describe and use the empirical knowledge of a number of African cases
  • Discussion of the various legal, political and social foundations of federalism and decentralization.
  • Students shall get yourself familiar with postcolonialism and its components.
  • To be able to de-construct the discourses of colonialism and neoliberalism.
  • Evaluate the role of parties in different national contexts and the role of the party system
  • Students will be able to distinguish the various aspects of political violence outside the control of the states.
  • A student analyzes key features of bureaucracy in authoritarian regimes
  • A student analyzes majoritarian and consensus democracies, parliamentary, presidential and mixed systems, and knows political implications of regime types
  • A student knows and can compare basic approaches to explaining democracy
  • A student knows approaches to measuring democracy
  • discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a two-party / multi-party systems
  • knows main typologies of authoritarian regimes and a logic behind these typologies
  • Knows the theories about quality of governance in authoritarian countries
  • knows the theories of a quality of governance and the role of state institutions under autocracy
  • Applies the theories of comparative authoritarianism to the analysis of the political and social processes on the Internet
  • able to situate contemporary problems pertaining democracy, rights, elections, press freedom, etc. in the framework of the constitutionalism vs. democracy debate
  • knows principles of elections in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes
  • Students will be able to read academic research articles and monographs critically and articulate their judgment of research content and quality
  • Students should be able to explain the outcomes of presidential and parliamentary systems and compare them.
  • Students should be familiar with the concepts of legitimacy and constitutionalism and how they relate to political culture.
  • To be able to differentiate schools of thought and methodological approaches inside the political science domain
  • To be able to evaluate ideas and their contribution to the field
  • To know configuration of military regimes
  • To understand political processes within military regimes
  • To know the concept of 'resource curse'
  • To know main causes of resource curse
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Overview on political systems: what makes a regime ‘democratic’?
  • 2. Presidential and parliamentary systems
  • 3. Party systems and coalitions
  • 4. Constitutional politics and non-majoritarian institutions
  • 5. Federalism
  • 6. Varieties of democracy
  • 7. Democracy, diversity, and power-sharing
  • 8. Authoritarian regimes and the problems of authoritarian rule
  • 9. Authoritarian power-sharing and the selectorate theory
  • 10. Civil-military relations, coups, and coup-proofing
  • 11. Authoritarian control
  • 12. Resource curse and rentier states
  • 13. Colonial legacies and the challenges of post-colonialism
  • 14. Political violence: civil war, ethnic conflict, terrorism
  • 15. Democracy or autocracy: Does it make a difference?
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Written assignment 1
    Position paper
  • non-blocking Class attendance and participation
    Students’ participation in class discussions is assessed according to the “intensity” of their participation, ability to understand and analyze basic concepts and show relevance of their ideas in presentations.
  • non-blocking Written Assignment 2
  • non-blocking .
  • non-blocking Exam
    The exams follows the closed-book format. It includes a test and mini-essays. The essays are 1) to be not less than 500 words each; 2) to correspod clearly with the question/problem to cover; 3) to be grounded in the literature, data and anecdotal evidence; 4) to use notions, concepts and theories from the comparative politics; 5) to refer to scholars and their works; 6) to be in English.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2022/2023 2nd module
    0.2 * Written Assignment 2 + 0.1 * Class attendance and participation + 0.4 * Exam + 0.3 * Written assignment 1


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Principles of comparative politics, Clark, W. R., 2013
  • The Oxford handbook of comparative politics, , 2007

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Foundations of comparative politics : democracies of the modern world, Newton, K., 2010