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Unit information: Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction in 2012/13

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Unit name Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction
Unit code POLI11103
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Wyatt
Open unit status Open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This introduces students to the study of comparative politics by introducing a range of concepts and theories that are used to study core political institutions. The theories will include structuralist, culturalist and rational choice theories of comparative politics. The formal institutions covered will include federalism, electoral systems, bureaucracies, executives and legislatures. The non-state institutions discussed will include social movements (including ethnonationalist movements), business and political parties.


  • to introduce students to key theories and concepts used in the study of comparative politics.
  • to introduce students to the key literature on comparative politics.
  • to introduce students to the outline of core political institutions.
  • to develop a critical approach to understanding political institutions.

Intended learning outcomes

Having completed this unit students will:

  • have read and understood some of the key literature on comparative politics.
  • demonstrate familiarity with key ideas used in the literature on comparative politics.
  • be able to use these ideas to frame explanations of political outcomes.
  • be able to integrate empirical evidence into conceptually grounded arguments.
  • be able to compare the political experiences of different countries.
  • have a working knowledge of key institutions of government
  • demonstrate an ability to participate in seminar discussions.

Teaching details

2 hours of lectures and 1 hour seminar.

Assessment Details

Exam 100%

Reading and References

Mark Kesselman, Joel Krieger & William A. Joseph (eds) (2007), Introduction to comparative politics: Political challenges and changing agendas, 4th edition,