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Module Code - Title:


Year Last Offered:


Hours Per Week:













Grading Type:


Prerequisite Modules:


Rationale and Purpose of the Module:

This course provides an introduction to the comparative study of European politics. It provides students with the opportunity to study political trends across Europe, to identify similarities and differences within different countries, systems and regions, and to develop their ability to conduct comparative political analysis. NB This course will mainly draw on Western and Central European political systems


The basic themes of the course are, first, the commonalties and, secondly, the particularities, of politics and government among West European states û due largely to their similar yet different trajectories of development, and to the way in which they influence each other. We explore, for example, why politics in some West European countries is very stable, even predictable, whereas in other countries politics is highly fractious; why some countries have single-party governments whilst others are (almost always) governed by complex coalitions; why some polities seem to be well-governed whereas governance seems more haphazard in others. Note, too, that an understanding of politics and government in West European states tells us much about what is involved in building democracy in the new states of Eastern and Central Europe, and indicates some of the difficulties entailed in European integration û both of which are areas of study in third-year courses.

Learning Outcomes:

Cognitive (Knowledge, Understanding, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, Synthesis)

Identify the central concepts and theoretical foundations of comparative politics Recognise the common isues and problems of European politics Demonstrate proficiency in library skills Develop proficiency in planning and writing essays

Affective (Attitudes and Values)

Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches to comparative politics

Psychomotor (Physical Skills)

Demonstrate competence in verbal articulation of arguemtns in a tutorial setting

How the Module will be Taught and what will be the Learning Experiences of the Students:

The module will be based around weekly lectures and seminars. There are lectures in weeks 1-12 of the semester. Seminars begin in week 2. Attendance at both lectures and seminars is required.Each lecture and seminar will revolve around a set topic with prescribed readings. Students are expected to prepare for the seminars by reading in advance. Indeed, the success of the module depends to a great degree on student preparation and participation. Lectures are designed to provide an introductory overview of important themes. Seminars (beginning in week 2) will revolve around detailed discussion of those themes with the aim of achieving more comprehensive understanding. The first function of a seminar is to help you clear up anything that you may not have understood from the lectures or from your independent study. You should therefore use the seminar to ask about anything that you do not understand about a topic. The second function of a seminar is to broaden your knowledge about the topics covered in the lectures, and to help you to develop a critical perspective on the lecture topics. This will help you to complete the assessment for the module more successfully. Your seminar tutor may also assign you specific tasks for a seminar. Again, each seminar has a set of objectives. These build on the lecture objectives, pulling out core issues that you should familiarise yourself with, and become familiar with.

Research Findings Incorporated in to the Syllabus (If Relevant):

Prime Texts:

Hay, C. & A. Menon (2007) European Politics , Oxford University Press

Other Relevant Texts:

Gallagher , M. et al (2006) Representative Government in Modern Europe , McGraw-Hill

Programme(s) in which this Module is Offered:

Semester - Year to be First Offered:

Autumn - 09/10

Module Leader: