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Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method

Vak 2010-2011

Description

This seminar will first look at the development of comparative politics as a subdiscipline of political science, and will then focus mainly on some of the key problems and alternatives that are confronted when applying the comparative method, including concept formation, most similar and most different research designs, the case study, and process tracing. The seminar will also include an assessment of the challenges facing the study of comparative politics as a result of globalisation, Europeanisation and the imputed decline of the boundedness of nation-states. The purpose of the seminar is to give students introduction to the ways in which comparative research can be designed. Each student will be expected to read widely on each of the topics, to contribute actively to the discussions, and to make at least one formal presentation to the seminar.

Methods of Instruction

Seminars with active participation.

Literature

The following topics will be dealt across the four sessions, with a session by session breakdown being provided towards the end of Block 1. Students are advised to get as much reading done as early as they can.

TOPICS

Introduction to Comparative Politics

  • Peter Mair. “Comparative Politics: an overview” in Robert Goodin and Hans-Dieter Klingemann (eds), A New Handbook of Political Science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996, 309-335.

  • Richard Snyder. 2007. “The Human Dimension of Comparative Research”. In Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder (eds), Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1-31.

  • Gerardo L. Munck. 2007. The Past and Present of Comparative Politics. In Gerardo L. Munck and Richard Snyder (eds), Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics. Johns Hopkins University Press, 32-59.

  • Gerald L. Munck and Richard Snyder 2007, “Debating the Direction of Comparative Politics”, in Comparative Political Studies, 5-31

Concepts, Classifications and Typologies

  • Giovanni Sartori. 1970. “Concept Misformation in Comparative Politics”. American Political Science Review 64:4, 1033-53

  • David Collier and James E Mahoney, 1993. “Conceptual Stretching Revisited”. American Political Science Review 87:4, 845-55.

  • John Gerring. 1999. “What makes a concept good? A criterial framework for understanding concept formation in the social sciences”. Polity 31:3, 357-93.

  • Peter Mair, “Concepts and Concept Formation”, in Donatella della Porta and Michael Keating (eds), Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008, 177-97.

Most similar and most different systems design

  • Adam Przeworski and Henry Teune. 1970. The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry. Wiley, 17-87.

  • Jonathan W. Moses and Torbjørn L.Knutsen. 2007. Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research, Chapter 5 (94-115): The Comparative Method.

Case Studies

  • Arend Lijphart 1971.“Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method”. American Political Science Review 65:3, 682-93

  • Arend Lijphart, 1975. “The Comparable Cases Strategy in Comparative Research”. Comparative Political Studies 8:2, 158-77.

  • Alexander George and Andrew Bennett, 2005. Case Study and Theory Development. MIT Press, 3-36.

  • John Gerring, 2004. “What is a Case Study and What is it Good for?” American Political Science Review 98:2, 341-354.

  • Jason Seawright and John Gerring. 2009. “Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options”. Political Research Quarterly, 61:2, 294-308

  • Evan S. Lieberman, 2005. “Nested Analysis as a Mixed-Method Strategy for Comparative Research”. American Political Science Review 99:3, 435-52

Process Tracing and Analytic Narratives

  • James A. Caparaso. 2009. “Is there a quantitative-qualitative divide in comparative politics? The case of process-tracing”. In Todd Landman and Neil Robinson (eds), The Sage Handbook of Comparative Politics, Sage.

  • Margaret Levi. 1999. “Producing an Analytic Narrative”. In John Bowen and Roger Petersen (eds), Critical Comparisons in Politics and Culture. Cambridge University Press, 152-172.

  • Peter Hall. 2008. “Systematic process analysis: what it is and how to use it”. EPS 7, 304-317

  • Jonathan W. Moses and Torbjørn L.Knutsen. 2007. Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research, Chapter 9 (197-221): From Story Telling to Telling Histories

The Problem of Diffusion

  • Dietmar Braun and Fabrizio Gilardi. 2006.“Taking ‘Galton’s Problem’ Seriously: Towards a Theory of Policy Diffusion”. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 18, 298-322

  • Beth A. Simmons, Frank Dobbin and Geoffrey Garrett. 2006. “Introduction: International Diffusion of Liberalism”, International Organization, 60, 781-810

Examination

3.000 to 4.000-word paper at end of seminar.

Schedule

Thursday 2 December time to be announced, room 5B31 and
Friday 3 December time to be announced, room 5B31