Comparative politics PS2082
This course encompasses how we form or develop concepts of democratic political institutions and some of the different ways in which democracies can be organised.
Prerequisite: A course that you must have ordinarily attempted all elements of before you are permitted to register for another particular course.
If taken as part of a BSc degree, courses which must be attempted before this course may be taken:
PS1172 Introduction to political science or PS1114 Democratic politics and the state or PS1130 Introduction to modern political thought.
- Presidential and parliamentary systems
- Legitimacy and political culture
- The nature and role of the state; bureaucracy; the judicial power, the role of the military
- Forms of political organisation; parties and interest groups
- Electoral systems and party competition
- Federal and unitary states.
If you complete the course successfully, you should be able to:
- Why institutional analysis is a key aspect of comparative politics
- How institutional stability and political legitimation interact
- What is meant by political culture and how it influences institutional behaviour
- How presidential systems differ in key respects from parliamentary ones
- The relationship between elective and non-elective dimensions of the democratic state
- The concept of federalism and how it differs from local government.
Unseen written exam (3 hrs).
- Ackerman, B. ‘The Rise of World Constitutionalism’ Virginia Law Review, 83/4 (May 1997), pp.771-797
- Booth J and Seligson M. The Legitimacy Puzzle in Latin America; Political Support and Democracy in Eight Nations. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
- Bowen, J. Why the French Don't like Headscarves; Islam, the State and the Public Sphere. Princeton NJ, Princeton University Press, 2006.
- Connolly, W. (ed.) Legitimacy and the State. Oxford: Blackwell, 1984. Especially the chapter by Weber, ‘Politics as a Vocation’ and the chapter by Lipset entitled ‘Social Conflict, Legitimacy and Democracy’ in the same volume
- Dahl, R.A. Democracy and its Critics. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989.
- Dahl R.A. On Democracy. New Haven; Yale U.P 1998.
- R. Elgie, ‘The perils of semi-presidentialism: Are they exaggerated?’ Democratization 15/1 (2008), pp.49-66)
- P Lassman and R Speers. Weber’s Political Writings (Cambridge texts in the History of Political thought, 1994) (to be used as an alternative to Connolly 1984)
- Linz, J. ‘The Perils of Presidentialism’, Journal of Democracy 1: 51–69 (1990).
- March, J.G. and J.P. Olson ‘The New Institutionalism’, American Political Science Review (September 1984) 73(3): 734–50
- Roberts A. The Quality of Democracy in Eastern Europe; Public Preference and Policy Reforms. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Course information sheets
Download the course information sheets from the LSE website.