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Semester 1

Comparative Politics in a Globalized World (PLIT08008)







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**Please note that all Politics courses are very high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.

Course Summary

Comparison is one of the core tools of the political analyst. By comparing and contrasting different cases, scholars can gain important insights into the causes, dynamics and effects of different aspects of politics and international relations. Comparison can involve examining similarities and differences between political regimes, democratic practices, governments and parliaments, political cultures, levels of government, public policies, political mobilisation, and many more. This course will equip students with the knowledge and skills in when to compare, how to compare, what to compare, and how to use comparison for explaining and understanding political processes, events and outcomes. We will also explore how comparison is challenged by the process and context of globalisation. In the first part of the course, we introduce the course itself, and the idea behind using comparisons as a method of inquiry. Alongside studies of political theory, international relations, or area studies, comparative politics is at the very core of the discipline of political science. But why? What are the reasons for comparisons being powerful tools to understand political questions? And how can knowledge of the similarities and differences between polities, politics, and policies help us understand how things are happening, but also why. In the second part of the course, we will take a closer look at one particular type of regime democracies and the commonalities and vast differences within this category of states that has proliferated globally in the past 200 years. The last part of the course looks at variations in what states actually do their public policies. The range of possible outcomes is even most vast here than in the types of regimes, so comparisons are both unavoidable and at times difficult.

Course Description

Assessment Information

Written Exam 0%, Coursework 90%, Practical Exam 10%

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