This course is an introduction to Comparative Politics, one of the four sub-fields in Political Science, which involves the comparative analysis of political institutions, processes, and outcomes at the national level.
During this term, we will try to figure out how we can usefully compare politics in a variety of countries. We will make comparisons explicit and systematic in order to determine how governments work, how power is organized and contested at the national level, and how regular people can participate and pursue their interests in different political settings.
One of the primary goals of the class will be to introduce you to the study of Comparative Politics, including its key concepts, theories, methods, issues, and language. Some of these may seem quite removed from the “real world” at first, which is why we will look at six countries in some detail in order to make the application of Comparative Politics more concrete and accessible. The group of countries we cover in this class consists of the United Kingdom, Germany, Russia, South Africa, China, and Mexico.