Comparative Politics

6 credits

Teacher responsible: Prof. Stefano Procacci

The course explores the basic principles of comparative analysis as a method for theory building in political science, focusing on the intellectual process of concept formation, classification, elaboration of typologies and frameworks for the study of the world’s political systems.

It will provide an overview of the progress of comparative studies through the different theoretical approaches adopted in this field and will offer a close examination of the most important issues of contemporary research: democracy, authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, party system and interest groups, participation and mass mobilization, political culture, state/society relationships, civilizational and religious identity. It will explain differences as well as similarities among countries according to the variation in political institutions and processes, economic and social structures, and civil-military relations. Moreover, it will ask how these domestic features respectively influence foreign policy and how international politics influences both the constitutional and process features of political systems.

Case-studies belonging to different regional areas of the international system will be offered in order to substantiate the above concepts and frameworks.

Preparatory readings:

A. Almond, «Comparative political systems», Journal of Politics, vol. 18, August 1956.

A. Lijphart, «Comparative politics and the comparative method», American Political Science Review, 65, 3, 1971.

for beginners:

R. Hague, M. Harrop (eds.), Comparative Government and Politics. An Introduction, Palgrave MacMillan, 2004 (or a more recent edition).

Course Syllabus

N.B. Prospective students can view the full syllabus for this course by signing up to receive the WPIR syllabus package.