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[kopie] Comparative analysis of Political Systems (MA)

Course 2003-2004

Type: Conversion course
This course offers a full introduction to the study of comparative politics by focusing on a comparison of five western democracies: France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. The systems are compared within the framework of a model developed by Arend Lijphart, which distinguishes between majoritarian democracies and consensus democracies. Specific topics to be covered in the course include cleavages and voting behaviour, political development and party systems, legislatures and government formation, and the challenges facing contemporary democracy. The course involves one two-hour lecture per week during the first trimester, as well as a series of weekly workgroups. Assessment takes the form of a final written exam.

Study material

- Y. Meny and A. Knapp, Government and Politics in Western Europe, 3rd edition, 1998, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Arend Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Per­for­mance in Thirty-Six Countries, 1999, New Haven: Yale University Press.
- David McKay, American Politics and Society, 5th edition, 2001, Oxford: Blackwell (plus linked web-site:
- Course Reader: available at the beginning of the course.

Time table

Lectures: Tuesdays 3 September – 26 November 2002, Time: 15.00 – 17.00 hrs, Room: SA41