PO2CGP-Comparative Government and Politics

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring / Summer module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou

Email: d.halikiopoulou@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
This module introduces students to the discipline of Comparative Politics. It examines the origins of political systems, regime formation and processes of a range of states from all regions of the world from a comparative perspective. Studying this module will give students a good understanding of comparative methods and research design; the ability to comparatively analyse the development of state formation and democratization processes around the world; and the tools to nuance, unpack and conceptualize some of the contemporary challenges that democratic nation- states face. This module may be taken as a pre-requisite for the Part 3 module Parliamentary Studies (PO3PAR).

This module aims to introduce students to comparative research in political science. It aims to give students a broad understanding of the political systems, institutions and processes over a range of states from all regions of the world.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module it is expected that students will be able to:
•Understand the importance and logic of comparison
•Understand the different forms of comparative analysis and research design
•Analyse the development of regime formation and democratization from a comparative perspective
•Appreciate some of the contemporary challenges that democratic nation- states face.
•Subject various theories and approaches to empirical and methodological scrutiny

Additional outcomes:
The module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student's effectiveness in seminars.

Outline content:
The module commences with a set of three introductory lectures on the importance and logic of comparison: why do we compare and how do we do it properly and what are the different levels of analysis in Comparative Politics? These lectures introduce students to quantitative and qualitative comparative research methods and the overall rationale of comparative research design. The module is then divided in two parts. Part 1 examines the formation of nation-states and the emergence of different regimes, including democracy, in comparative perspective. Part 2 proceeds with contemporary challenges to nation-states and democracy, including the quest for economic development, the emergence of ethnic conflict, the rise of right-wing extremism and public opinion and policy.

The module content is indicative only and may be subject to change. An typical example of the structure is as follows:

1.Business Meeting and Overview of Module: The Importance of Comparison
2.The Logic of Comparison: Small and Large-N Comparative Designs
3.Theories and Levels of Analysis in Comparative Politics
4.The Origins of the Modern Nation-State: Nationalism, Revolution and State Formation
5.Comparative Regime Formation: The Developmental Tradition
6.Democratization: Large-N Analyses
7.Comparative Political Economy: Economic Development
8.Ethnic Conflict
9.Right-Wing Extremism
10.Public Opinion and Policy

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Course delivery will be by lectures and seminar classes.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 5 5
Seminars 8 7 2
Guided independent study 70 70 33
Total hours by term 83.00 82.00 35.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:
Students will write one 3000 word essay on selected topics. Non-submitted essays will be awarded a mark of zero.

Visiting students will follow the same assessments but only those enrolled for the full year will sit the examination. Those visiting students who are here for Autumn term only for half credits should submit a 3000 word essay in total and those here for Autumn and Spring terms for full credit should submit a further 3000 word essay (in place of the examination) to be submitted by the first day of the summer term.

Formative assessment methods:
Students will write a one page formative essay plan.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    One three-hour examination.

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    If a student fails to pass the year at the first attempt there is an opportunity to be re-assessed on one further occasion at the next opportunity in those modules achieving a mark of less than 40%. Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Examination: Re-examination takes place in August/September of the same year.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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