Accueil > Introduction to Political Science


Type d'enseignement : Lecture and tutorials

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 60

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

Political science is the scientific study of the institutions, forms of thought and organization, as well as the various actors comprising political life. Encompassing both theoretical and empirical perspectives, it provides the methodological tools necessary for describing states, societies, and political action and evaluating the objectives and efficacy of political processes. This introductory course will introduce students to some of the main subdisciplines of the field, including political theory, comparative politics, public policy, political economy, and international relations. Through a broad survey of the literature, students will become familiar with the key questions and debates within the field and acquire the concepts and methods necessary to interpret and analyze political phenomena of the past and present.


  • CORDELL PARIS, Crystal (Enseignante)
  • LOUER, Laurence V. (Chargée de recherche CERI, Sciences Po)

Pedagogical format

Session 1. Introduction. Genesis, definitions, and methods of political science Session 2. Forms of political order and legitimacy Session 3. Identities: nations, nationalisms, and diversity Session 4. Democratic regimes: origins, classifications, and transformations Session 5. Policy-making processes Session 6. Authoritarian and totalitarian regimes Session 7. Redistribution and growth across regimes Session 8. Political socialization and paradigms of political culture Session 9. Electoral and party systems Session 10. Political participation and voting behavior Session 11. Organized civil society, collective action, and social movements Session 12. Regional integration and globalization

Course validation

The final grade is divided as follows: the final exam constitutes 1/3 of the final grade; the conference grade (continuous assessment) counts for 2/3 of the final grade.

Required reading

ACEMOGLU, Daron and ROBINSON, James A. Why nations fail: The origins of power, prosperity, and poverty. Crown Business, 2013.

Additional required reading

  • ARENDT, Hannah. The origins of totalitarianism. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1973.
  • ARISTOTLE, Politics. Trans. Carnes LORD. University of Chicago Press, 2013.
  • CARAMANI, Daniele (ed.). Comparative politics. Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • CORDELL PARIS, Crystal. La philosophie politique. Paris : Editions Ellipses, 2013.
  • DIECKHOFF, Alain & PORTIER, Philippe. L'Enjeu mondial. Religion & politique. Paris : Presses de Sciences Po, 2017.
  • DRYZEK, John S., HONIG, Bonnie, and PHILLIPS, Anne (ed.). The Oxford handbook of political theory. Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • FINLEY, Moses I. Democracy ancient and modern. Rutgers University Press, 1985.
  • FUKUYAMA, Francis. Political order and political decay: From the industrial revolution to the globalization of democracy. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014.
  • GALLAGHER, Michael, LAVER, Michael, and MAIR, Peter. Representative government in modern Europe. McGraw-Hill, 2011.
  • GOODIN, Robert E. and PETTIT, Philip (ed.). Contemporary political philosophy: An Anthology. John Wiley & Sons, 2006.
  • GROSSMAN, Emiliano & SAUGER, Nicolas. Les systèmes politiques des pays de l'Union européenne. Bruxelles: De Boeck, 2007.
  • LIJPHART, Arend. Patterns of democracy: Government forms and performance in thirty-six countries. Yale University Press, 2012.