Comparative Politics Key Points

Comparative Politics
A summary
Jennifer Bailey
POL 1000
Fall 2013
Pensum – KP/CP
• Sodaro, Michael J. (2008), Comparative
Politics: A Global Introduction, 3rd edition.
McGraw-Hill Higher Education. Kap: 1-12; 1421.
• Jørgen Møller (2012), Statsdannelse,
regimeforandring og økonomisk udvikling
(hele boka)
• Heywood, Andrew (2007), Political Ideologies:
An Introduction, 5th edition. Palgrave/
Macmillian. Paperback. Kap. 1-5, 7, 10, 12.
• 4 articles and chapters
Key Themes Covered
• Ideas and Ideologies –
– what is the good society? (values)
• Method –
– Emprical knowledge
– how do we know what we know?
• The State
– the building block of comparative and international politics
• Democracy
Our good society
Where does it come from?
What does it take?
How do we make it work?
• Individual countries
Ideas and Ideologies
• What is an ideology?
– Package of beliefs: How the world works, how it should work,
and plan of action
• Which?
– Liberalism, conservatism, socialism, fascism, nationalism, some
on fundamentalism, anarchism
• How to study:
– Focus on package of beliefs
• Pure types vs «spin offs»
– Understand basic assumptions
– «Tensions between» boxes useful
– «isms» boxes
• Boring! Hard to understand!
• BUT fundamental & essential
– Making and evaulating arguments about causality
– Sodero:
• Hypothesis making and testing
– Møller
• the comparative method with a few cases
• Example: how academic debate develops
– Bailey, Møller and Sodero: the logic of comparison and
• The language of method (including but not limited to):
– Theory, cases, causes, causal mechanisms, variables,
operationalization, methods of difference & agreement,
MSSD & MDSD, path dependency, hypothesis/hypothesis
What is the state?
• Weber, Møller, Sodero (Knutsen, Jellinek and
international law)
• The building block of comparative and
international politics
• The setting for the evoltuion of democracy
• Møller – various theories about development of
the state in Western-central Europe
The importance of a state SYSTEM
The importance of war-making
Feudalism & free cities and the secular state
Tilly, Downing, Ertman, Hui
• Critical to international politics and development
of democracy
• What is Democracy?
– Sodero, lectures
– Definitions of democracy, ancient and modern
– Democracies vs republics
– Do we have a democracy today?
Where does it come from?
• Møller – theories of development of
democracy and captialism in Europe
– Hintze, Moore, Bloch, Weber, Møller, Anderson,
Møller, Skocpol, etc.
• Also in Sodero’s “what does it take?” (implicit)
• Implict in the country studies
Democracy: what does it take?
• Sodero & lectures
– Sodero’s 10 conditions
– Extra focus on culture and civil society
• The «coconut theory»:
– Can democracy take root just anywhere?
– Sodero – Afghanistan and Iraq
Translating Democracy from Ideal to
• Organization & institutions matter
– Reflect history
– Impact outcomes
• Constituions and vertical division of power
– Confederations, federations and unitary states
• Horizontal division of power
– Executives, Legislatures (electoral systems) (and
Judicial branch)
• Civil Society & Interest groups
The readings on individual countries
• What is the point?
• Empirical knowledge of other countries
• Apply concepts to individual countries
• Source of examples and questions
– Yeah, I see that or
– That doesn’t fit!

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