POLSC221: Introduction to Comparative Politics


The course proceeds as follows: Unit 1 introduces basic concepts in social science, comparative political theory, and methodology. Unit 2 examines the state and compares authoritarian, totalitarian, and democratic state forms. Unit 3 focuses on the concept of democracy and democratization. Unit 4 explores institutional features of government and governance. Unit 5 moves outside the realm of government structure to explore how variables including culture, interest groups, pressure groups, lobbying, the press, media campaigns, nongovernmental and quasi-nongovernmental organizations shape outcomes in politics. Unit 6 compares different ideologies and government policy processes. In Unit 7, we apply comparative methods to examine variations of government structure and economic development across four different regions of the world: the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Upon successful completion of the course, you will have the methodological background to understand and explain variations in political behavior and political institutions. You will also have a general understanding of the issues facing political systems in each of the regions covered.