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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Comparative Politics in a Globalized World (PLIT08008)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryComparison 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 Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017) AND Politics and International Relations 1B: The Global Dimension (PLIT08018)) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 90 %, Practical Exam 10 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Research briefing (1600 words) - 40%
Essay (2000 words) - 50%
Tutorial Participation - 10%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Recognise the diversity of political systems around the world and their key components
  2. Explain why political systems differ, and how those differences shape domestic and global politics
  3. Understand the logic of the comparative method and be able to apply it to real world events and outcomes
  4. Assess the value of comparative political science for understanding current events and global relations
  5. Effectively communicate comparative political analysis in written and oral forms
Reading List
We recommend the following textbook for purchase:
Caramani, D. (2020) (ed.) Comparative Politics 5th edn. Oxford University Press.
The following two books make good companion pieces:
Lim, T. (2016) Doing Comparative Politics: An Introduction to Approaches and Issues 3rd edn. Lynne Rienner.
Hague, R., Harrop, M. and J. McCormick (2019) Comparative Government and Politics ¿ An Introduction 11th edn. Macmillan Education.

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Patrick Theiner
Course secretaryMiss Anna Hallam
Tel: (0131 6)51 1337
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