This course is centered around three influential “great debates” in political science: power in international relations, social capital and political participation, and consociational democracy and ethnic conflict. Each debate is introduced by reading a key book on it and is followed up by a discussion of its various aspects through several examples of research on the original debate . Students will learn to understand particular issues from several perspectives, including different theoretical and methodological approaches and themselves apply political science concepts to analyses the issues at hand .
The aim of the course is to introduce students to several of the political science recent debates, and to make them aware of the different theoretical and methodological approaches to the academic study of these debates, as well as different standards of empirical evidence that are used to evaluate these debates.
Goal 1: The course will introduce students to several recent major debates in political science both in terms of their substance and in terms of the different standards of empirical evidence used in the debates.
Goal 2: The course will make students aware of the different theoretical and methodological approaches to the academic study of major issues in political science.
Lijphart, Arend. 1977. Democracy in Plural Societies. New Haven: Yale University Press. (Also available online through the Leiden University Library) Robert Putnam, 2001. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks Mearsheimer, John J. 2014 (updated edition). The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: W.W. Norton. A selection of articles available online through the Leiden University Library (tba).
Three written papers (one about each book) of no more than 2,000 words.
Each paper counts for 1/3 of the final grade.
Mode of instruction
Lectures week 1, week 2, week 4, week 6
Seminars week 3, week 5, week 7