GV952-7-FY-CO:
Comparative European Politics

The details
2020/21
Government
Colchester Campus
Full Year
Postgraduate: Level 7
Current
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 02 July 2021
30
05 June 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

MA L24012 Global and Comparative Politics,
MA L240EB Global and Comparative Politics,
MA L240EK Global and Comparative Politics,
MSC L24012 Global and Comparative Politics,
MSC L240EB Global and Comparative Politics,
MSC L240EK Global and Comparative Politics

Module description

The objective of this module is to provide a better understanding of democratic political and economic processes in Europe.

The first part of the module will be devoted to studying the roots of party systems, party competition, electoral systems, the rise of populist and extremist parties, democratic backsliding, and linkages between citizens and politicians in West and East European countries.

In the second part, we will study the institutional foundations of welfare-capitalism and examine how coordinated and liberal capitalism types responded to challenges such as globalisation and deindustrialization. A large part of the module is devoted to studying the power-sharing arrangements in the European Union. In this context, we will explore what the euro crisis, disintegration dynamics, and trade disputes might mean for the future of the EU. The module also provides an accessible introduction to research design and methods that political scientists have used to address these topics

Module aims

By the end of the course students will have a sound knowledge of contemporary European politics, and understand the advantages and limitations of comparative research. Specifically, participants will become familiar with important academic debates in political party behaviour, the rise of extremism, democratic backsliding, European Union politics, welfare-capitalism foundations, and economic policymaking in Europe.

Students are encouraged to critically assess the validity of conflicting theoretical claims and arguments on the basis of appropriate empirical evidence. The module will also help students hone their analytical and writing skills. By composing short response papers, a grant application, an essay, and peer review comments, students learn how to tailor their writing to different audiences.

Module learning outcomes

• Thinking, discussing, and writing clearly and logically.
• Linking together, and understanding the linkages between, empirical facts and abstract concepts.
• Retrieving, synthesising, and critically evaluating information from diverse sources.
• Writing effectively for different audiences.
• Revising written work based on (sometimes conflicting) feedback.

Module information

The module will cover the following topics:

Week 2: Methods and Concepts of Comparative Research
Week 3: Social Cleavages and Party Systems
Week 4: Dynamics of Party Competition

Module Description

The objective of this module is to provide a better understanding of democratic political and economic processes in Europe. The first part of the module will be devoted to studying the roots of party systems, party competition, electoral systems, the rise of populist and extremist parties, democratic backsliding, and linkages between citizens and politicians in West and East European countries. In the second part, we will study the institutional foundations of welfare-capitalism and examine how coordinated and liberal capitalism types responded to challenges such as globalisation and deindustrialization. A large part of the module is devoted to studying the power-sharing arrangements in the European Union. In this context, we will explore what the euro crisis, disintegration dynamics, and trade disputes might mean for the future of the EU. The module also provides an accessible introduction to research design and methods that political scientists have used to address these topics.

Module Aims

By the end of the course students will have a sound knowledge of contemporary European politics, and understand the advantages and limitations of comparative research. Specifically, participants will become familiar with important academic debates in political party behaviour, the rise of extremism, democratic backsliding, European Union politics, welfare-capitalism foundations, and economic policymaking in Europe. Students are encouraged to critically assess the validity of conflicting theoretical claims and arguments on the basis of appropriate empirical evidence. The module will also help students hone their analytical and writing skills. By composing short response papers, a grant application, an essay, and peer review comments, students learn how to tailor their writing to different audiences.

Module Outcomes

* Thinking, discussing, and writing clearly and logically.
* Linking together, and understanding the linkages between, empirical facts and abstract concepts.
* Retrieving, synthesising, and critically evaluating information from diverse sources.
* Writing effectively for different audiences.
* Revising written work based on (sometimes conflicting) feedback.

Module Structure and Teaching

1 hour lecture and 1 hour class

What we expect of you during lecture and classes:
* To attend all lectures and classes after having done the required reading.
* To pay attention and take notes as necessary.
* To think about the readings before class, and be ready to discuss them: try to identify the key assumptions in the texts; map the structure of the argument; underline the conclusions. Highlight to yourself points you don't understand. If you don't understand it, it is likely that others have not understood it either, so don't be shy to ask. Ask yourself whether you agree with the text, whether you can identify weaknesses or gaps in the argument, and what could someone who disagrees with it argue against it.
* To offer your participation. You are expected to answer questions, raise new points, and contribute to the progression of discussion in class. Learning about and discussing these texts is a communal endeavour and it is a matter of good citizenship to contribute.

Module Topics

Week 2: Methods and Concepts of Comparative Research
Week 3: Social Cleavages and Party Systems
Week 4: Dynamics of Party Competition
Week 5: Populist Parties and Linkages between Voters and Citizens
Week 6: Economic Crises and the Rise of Radical Right Parties
Week 7: Electoral Systems
Week 8: Sources of Polarization and Depolarization
Week 9: Social Capital
Week 10: Democratic backsliding
Week 11: Unitary States, Federal States, Devolution, and Bicameralism

Christmas vacation

Week 16: Direct Democracy and Referendums
Week 17: Interest Groups
Week 18: Varieties of Capitalism and Skill Regimes
Week 19: The Welfare State and Welfare State Retrenchment
Week 20: Central Banks
Week 21: The European Union – politics and crisis management
Week 22: EU Trade Policy
Week 23: Disintegration Dynamics in the EU
Week 24: Patronage and Corruption
Week 25: European responses to COVID-19

Learning and teaching methods

1 hour lecture and 1 hour class

Bibliography*

This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Short Response Paper 1     10% 
Coursework   Short Response Paper 2     10% 
Coursework   Grant Proposal    30% 
Coursework   Short Response Paper 3    10% 
Coursework   Short Response Paper 4    10% 
Coursework   Essay and Peer Review    30% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Alexandra Hennessy, email: alexandra.hennessy@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Alexandra Hennessy
Module Supervisor Dr Alexandra Hennessy alexandra.hennessy@essex.ac.uk Module Administrator Jamie Seakens govpgquery@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
Yes
No
No

External examiner

Dr Nicholas Walter Vivyan
University of Durham
Senior Lecturer
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 40 hours, 40 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Government

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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