Introduction to Politics

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 4
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 17 December 2021
17 May 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA L2CH Social Sciences,
BA LFCH Social Sciences

Module description

This module is designed to provide you with an introduction to political science and to politics. The module consists of four parts: democracy and democratisation; political behavior; political institutions; political outcomes.

We will also introduce some practical aspects of political science, such as methods used to study political systems, reading and interpreting political science articles, and writing political science essays.

Module aims

The main aim of the module is to provide an introduction to political science and to politics.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module, you should be able to:

1. Summarize the basic building blocks of the academic study of politics;
2. Read, understand, and discuss articles involved in more specialised study in the field of politics;
3. Compare and contrast political systems, institutions, behaviours, and outcomes at different times and in different places;
4. Write clear and cogent essays;
5. Conduct independent library and internet searches for scholarly work;
6. Contribute with well-informed contributions in small-group discussions.

Module information

There is one textbook for this module, abbreviated CGG in the module diary below:

Clark, William Roberts, Matt Golder, and Sona Nadenichek Golder. Principles of comparative politics. CQ Press, 2nd Edition, 2017. ISBN: 978-1608716791.

You may use electronic or previous editions of this book.

Further, a selection of readings is assigned throughout the module. Log on to Moodle to access these assigned readings. The readings are listed and discussed in more detail below.

These extra readings are available in the Library, typically on either three-hour loan or three-day loan. The Library web site is also accessible from your myEssex student portal; myEssex offers you a structured set of links to online services and information that have been customised with your needs in mind.

The Library provides online access to a number of journals that will serve as sources for your essay each term: http://libwww//essex.ac.uk. You must use these academic outlets, rather than popular outlets (opinion pages, Wikipedia, blogs, daily news) when sourcing your essays. Papers other people post on sites such as citemywork.com and selfpostedpapers.com are not acceptable sources/references for your essay. Essays based solely on browsing the web with no use of scholarly sources will not receive high marks.

Learning and teaching methods

1 hour lecture per week plus 1 hour class per week.


  • LeDuc, Lawrence; Niemi, Richard G; Norris, Pippa. (2014) Comparing democracies: elections and voting in a changing world, London: SAGE Publications.
  • Gandhi, Jennifer; Przeworski, Adam. (2007-11) 'Authoritarian Institutions and the Survival of Autocrats', in Comparative Political Studies. vol. 40 (11) , pp.1279-1301
  • Blattman, Christopher. (no date) 'Civil War', in Journal of Economic Literature. vol. 48 (1) , pp.3-57
  • Haas, Nicholas; Khadka, Prabin B. (2020-10) 'If They Endorse It, I Can't Trust It: How Outgroup Leader Endorsements Undercut Public Support for Civil War Peace Settlements', in American Journal of Political Science. vol. 64 (4) , pp.982-1000
  • King, Elisabeth; Samii, Cyrus. (2020) Diversity, violence, and recognition, New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Abramson, Paul R.; Aldrich, John H.; Blais, André; Diamond, Matthew; Diskin, Abraham; Indridason, Indridi H.; Lee, Daniel J.; Levine, Renan. (2010-01) 'Comparing Strategic Voting Under FPTP and PR', in Comparative Political Studies. vol. 43 (1) , pp.61-90
  • Golder, Matt. (2003-05) 'Explaining Variation In The Success Of Extreme Right Parties In Western Europe', in Comparative Political Studies. vol. 36 (4) , pp.432-466
  • Walter, Barbara F. (1997) 'The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement', in International Organization. vol. 51 (3) , pp.335-364
  • James D. Fearon. (no date) 'Rationalist Explanations for War', in International Organization: Cambridge University Press. vol. 49 (3) , pp.379-
  • Olson, Mancur. (©1971) The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. vol. v. 124
  • Kalyvas, Stathis N. (2006-01-01) Logic of Violence in Civil War, The. Cambridge Studies in Comparative: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ronald Rogowski. (no date) 'Political Cleavages and Changing Exposure to Trade', in The American Political Science Review: American Political Science Association. vol. 81 (4) , pp.1121-
  • Lipset, Seymour Martin. (1983) Political man: the social bases of politics, London: Heinemann.
  • Clark, William Roberts; Golder, Matt; Golder, Sona Nadenichek. (2018) Principles of comparative politics, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE/CQ Press.
  • Benoit, Kenneth; Laver, Michael. (2006) Party policy in modern democracies, London: Routledge. vol. 19
  • George Tsebelis. (no date) 'Veto Players and Law Production in Parliamentary Democracies: An Empirical Analysis', in The American Political Science Review: American Political Science Association. vol. 93 (3) , pp.591-
  • Dani Rodrik. (no date) 'Trading in Illusions', in Foreign Policy: Slate Group, LLC. (123) , pp.54-
  • Dahl, Robert A. (1989) Democracy and its critics, New Haven: Yale University Press.
  • Horowitz, Donald L. (c2000) Ethnic groups in conflict, Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press.
  • Tsebelis, George. (©2002) Veto players: how political institutions work, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Walter, Barbara F.; Howard, Lise Morje; Fortna, V. Page. (2020-11-24) 'The Extraordinary Relationship between Peacekeeping and Peace', in British Journal of Political Science., pp.1-18
  • Daniel N. Posner. (no date) 'The Political Salience of Cultural Difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas Are Allies in Zambia and Adversaries in Malawi', in The American Political Science Review: American Political Science Association. vol. 98 (4) , pp.529-

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay Outline  19/11/2021  10% 
Coursework   Class Test  17/12/2021  50% 
Coursework   Essay  14/01/2022  90% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Prabin Khadka, email: prabin.khadka@essex.ac.uk.
Module Supervisor: Prabin Khadka



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 5659 hours, 135 (2.4%) hours available to students:
5524 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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