Political Theory and Comparative Political Systems

Universidad de Deusto - Bilbao

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Political Theory and Comparative Political Systems

  • Host University

    Universidad de Deusto - Bilbao

  • Location

    Bilbao, Spain

  • Area of Study

    International Politics, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

    45
  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4
  • Overview

    Description
    This course contributes to the consolidation of the students' academic-professional profile by helping them to acquire a significant knowledege of the relevant concepts of political theory and the basic dimension of the political system in comparative perspective. The knowledge of the functioning of the political system, and of its elements, is crucial to understand the State in an international context.

    Prerequisites
    None.

    Contents
    0.- INTRODUCTION
    *OVERVIEW: ROADMAP OF THE COURSE

    1.- POLITICAL THEORY AND COMPARATIVE POLITICS
    *KEY CONCEPTS OF POLITICAL THEORY: POWER, AUTHORITY, LEGITIMACY, POLITICAL SYSTEM
    *MAIN PARADIGMS OF POLITICAL THEORY: FUNCTIONALISM, STRUCTURALISM, CONSTRUCTIVISM,
    NORMATIVE THEORIES, CRITICAL THEORIES
    *THE CONCEPT OF POLITICAL SYSTEMS AND ITS ELEMENTS
    *WHAT IS COMPARATIVE POLITICS? TWO WAYS TO UNDERSTAND COMPARATIVE POLITICS

    2.- STATES AND REGIMES
    *THE CONCEPT OF NATION STATE
    *THE CONCEPT OF REGIME: VARIETIES OF NON-DEMOCRACIES, AUTHORITARIANISM, TOTALITARIANISM,
    POST-TOTALITARIANISM, SULTANISM
    *FAILED STATE
    *THE CONCEPT OF DEMOCRACY: VARIETIES, CHARACTERISTICS, CONSOLIDATION.
    *ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND DEMOCRATIZATION
    CASE-STUDY DISCUSSIONS

    3.- INSTITUTIONS AND RELATIONS BETWEEN THE EXECUTIVE AND THE LEGISLATIVE
    *FORMS OF STATE
    *FORMS OF GOVERNMENT: PRESIDENTIALISM, PARLIAMENTARISM AND OTHER FORMULAS
    *FEDERALISM AND DECENTRALIZATION
    *EXECUTIVES & BUREAUCRACIES
    CASE-STUDY DISCUSSIONS

    4.- ACTORS
    *THE CONCEPT OF POLITICAL PARTIES & PARTY SYSTEMS
    *TYPOLOGIES OF POLITICAL PARTIES: REGIONAL AND TIME VARIATIONS
    *THE CLEAVAGE THEORY AND HISTORICAL TRAJECTORIES: EUROPEAN POLITICAL PARTIES
    *SOME KEY ELEMENTS ON PARTY SYSTEMS: CLASSIFICATION, PARTY FAMILIES
    *INTEREST GROUPS & SOCIAL MOVEMENTS
    *POLITICAL CULTURE
    *POLITICAL COMMUNICATION
    CASE-STUDY DISCUSSIONS

    5.- ELECTORAL SYSTEMS
    *CONCEPTS AND CONSTITUTIVE ELEMENTS OF ELECTORAL SYSTEMS: REPRESENTATION, DISTRICT
    MAGNITUDE, ELECTORAL FORMULA, VOTE STRUCTURE ETC.
    *TYPES OF ELECTORAL SYSTEMS: PROPORTIONAL, MAJORITARIAN, MIXED
    *EFFECTS OF ELECTORAL SYSTEMS ON PARTIES AND PARTY

    Methodology
    The methodology will be based on:
    1 Presentation of different topics described on in the program
    2 Practical exercises, discussions proposed by the professor
    3 Individual assignments meant for the student to apply and to deepen in and apply the theoretical contents studied in class
    4 Individual study
    5 Tentative talks by a professional
     

    Assessment
    The assessment will be based on an exam, individual assignments and a small group case study.
    The exam will be given 6 points of the total grade
    Individual assignments will be given 2,5 points of the total grade
    Group essay and presentation will be given 1,5 of the total grade
    The grade will be calculated by computing the weighted average of the exam, assignments and group essay. It will be required at least a 5 in the exam to compute the total score of the course

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.