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Contemporary Themes in Comparative Politics

Programme overview

This module will provide you with an introduction to the study of real-world politics through the eyes of comparative politics.

During the lectures we will discuss the (competing) theoretical arguments linked to such questions. In the seminar group meetings, in turn, we will learn how to study them empirically by comparing cases in a systematic way.

The module provides theoretical and methodological tools to understand a wide array of political phenomena. On the top of that, it will challenge you not only to think, analyse, and write with creativity and rigor, but also learn how to study political processes and institutions in different ways.

This module is an excellent choice if you have an interest in questions linked to democracy and democratization, including the break-down (and emergence) of authoritarian regimes, ethnic conflict, and globalisation.

We'll explore a number of cutting-edge research topics supported by the on-going research work within the department, notably the Centre for Studies in Democratisation. You'll be challenged by the complexity of the questions under study that have no black-and-white answers.

This module aims to give you the tools to effectively interrogate the challenges associated with democracy and democratization through engaging and insightful lectures, high-quality readings, problem-oriented seminar meetings, and group tasks.

Themes that are explored

  • How can we account for the differences between autocracies and democracies?
  • What different institutional forms does democratic government take?
  • Are some institutions more likely than others to produce desirable social outcomes such as responsiveness and political stability?
  • Why do revolutions happen?
  • How do religion and ideology affect politics?
  • What are the driving forces behind secessionist movements around the world?
  • How do people make up their minds in referendums?
  • Why did the British public vote to leave the European Union?

Module Director:

Maria Koinova