Comparative Politics

Term: 
Fall
Credits: 
4.0
Academic Year: 
Status: 
Core
Elective
Mandatory
Course Description: 

The aim of the course is to make students familiar with some important issues and approaches in comparative politics by presenting concrete research problems and enterprises. 

The readings and the lectures describe and exemplify the development of the discipline, which has resulted in a genuine methodological pluralism. Beyond introductory methodological issues the course will cover issues in social and political change, structural vs agency-oriented explanations, dynamics of democratization and de-democratization in comparative perspective, and new forms of political communication.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course students are expected to have a better understanding in different trends in comparative politics, to be able to evaluate the merits of political science publications, to recognize what intellectual tradition they belong to, and to design your own research strategy.

Assessment: 

By the end of the semester, each student will be expected to write research proposal on a selected topic. The selection of the topic will be up to the student, but decision should be made by early November so that each will have adequate time to both read and “digest” the issue and its literature.

In the proposal, students should address the following: What is the problem, issue, puzzle, event, outcome, process, trend, controversy that you intend to explain, and why do you choose it? What are your assumptions? How do you conceptualize your selected issue and how do you come up with the way of looking at it? How do you address the issues of validity and reliability? What is the unit (are the units) included in your analysis and why they were selected? Is agency located at the level of individuals or at the level of structures? What, if any, method of comparison do you intend to apply and how? Are the observed empirical phenomena equivalent across countries?

Students must participate in all classes and inform the professor in advance if they cannot attend a class. They should read the mandatory readings before the meetings. Students are expected to participate actively in the discussions, and will also be asked to present one or more readings during the semester. The final paper (research proposal) should be about 3000-word long. Final papers should be both handed in print-out form and e-mailed by the last meeting of the semester.

Grading:
in-class activities, presentations (30%)
written assignments (30%)
final paper (40%)

Written assignments due to:
October 4.
November 3.
November 15.