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:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Daphne Halikiopoulou

Email: d.halikiopoulou@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

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 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 new societal cleavages, the rise of right-wing extremism and ethnic conflict.

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

Autumn Term:

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

Spring Term

6. Democratization: Large-N Analyses

7. Comparative Political Economy: Economic Development

8. Voting behaviour and party competition

9. The Far Right

10. Ethnic Conflict

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 7.5 7.5 1.5
Guided independent study 70.5 69.5 33.5
Total hours by term 83.00 82.00 35.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 40
Written assignment including essay 30
Oral assessment and presentation 10
Class test administered by School 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:
One three-hour examination.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Students are expected to attend and participate in class. The course syllabus sets out a number of essential readings each week; students are expected to read this material carefully as it will be discussed and analysed in class in detail. Overall performance will be assessed at the end of the module, and will count for 10% of the overall mark.

There will be a closed book class test in the Autumn term to assess student understanding of the first five topics of the module, including the methodological ones. This will count for 20% of the overall mark.

Students will write one 3000 word essay on selected topics in the Spring term. Non-submitted essays will be awarded a mark of zero.

The exam will take place in the summer term and will count for 40% of the overall mark.

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 and Spring terms only and who wish to receive  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:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convener will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (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.

    Assessment 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: 20 April 2018


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