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ASPO 23A10 - Comparative Politics

Type d'enseignement : Lecture and tutorials

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 48

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The course provides an introduction to Comparative Politics through the study of democracy and its alternatives. Through the course we shall examine questions like the following. What are the empirical conditions of democracy? Are there cultural preconditions for democracy or are some cultures better suited to authoritarian government? What is the role of participation in democracy? Is populism a form of radical democracy or a challenge to democracy? What is the role of deliberation in democracy? What is so special about majority rule? On what basis do we compare representative institutions around the world?


WEALE, Albert (Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy / Programme Director of Executive MPA in Global Public Policy and Management, University College London (UCL))

Pedagogical format

The detailed sequence of topics is as follows: 1a. Democracy and Its Alternatives 1b. Varieties of Democracy 2a. Cultural Diversity versus Democracy? 2b. Democracy and Its Legitimacy 3a. Democracy and Participation 3b. Participation, Populism and Representation 4a. Deliberative Democracy 4b. Deliberation in Political Systems 5a. Pluralism and Majority Rule 5b. Plurality Rule, Majority Rule and Consensus Democracy 6a. Political Representation and Its Challenges 6b. Designing Institutions of Representation? Teaching will take place in 12 two-hour sessions involving lectures, class exercises and discussion. Students will be enrolled in a seminar (24 hours throughout the semeter) that will run parallel to the lectures.

Course validation

Requirements and grading: The seminar grade will constitute 2/3 of the overall course grade, while the final exam will constitute the remaining 1/3 of the overall grade.

Required reading

  • Dahl, Robert A. (1998) On Democracy (New Haven and London: Yale University Press)
  • Lijphart, Arend (1999) Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries (New Haven and London: Yale University Press)
  • Weale, Albert (2007) Democracy (London: Macmillan, second edition)
  • The Journal of Democracy provides informed and extensive coverage of the state of democracy and the challenge to democracy in different countries around the world.