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This subject introduces students to comparative politics. There are many different aspects of and approaches to comparative politics, but all agree that it involves comparing at least two - and often many more - units of political analysis (e.g. countries, types of political system, electoral systems, areas of policy). The subject is divided into three basic components, each including case studies. The first component introduces the comparative method and classical approaches to comparative politics as we discuss political ideologies and regimes. The second component explores political actors and systems, and the key institutional differences between countries, such as federalism and electoral systems, and their effects. Finally, the course applies the concepts and methods to focus in on key themes and contemporary challenges such as ethnic conflict, state failure, political culture, democratisation and economic development.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should:
- Demonstrate familiarity and critical engagement with key concepts, themes and contemporary challenges in the sub-field of political science known as comparative politics;
- Demonstrate a critical understanding of discrete concepts, themes and contemporary challenges within comparative politics;
- Develop a broad understanding of the main types of political regimes, actors and systems existing in the contemporary world;
- Recognise the problems involved in comparing countries and cultures, and the solutions that have been devised to address these challenges;
- Develop skills in comparative analysis and evaluation;
- Develop the ability to critically evaluate different sources of research in the development of an argument;
- Work productively and collaboratively in groups.
Last updated: 22 November 2023