Political Science | Comparative Political Behavior
Y657 | 3804 | Rohrschneider


This seminar in comparative political behavior seeks to explain why
citizens become involved in politics; how they participate, and what
drives their behavior. Political behavior is to be broadly understood
including both the actual behavior as well as the individual and
macro-level antecedents of individual views and actions. We will
focus on those approaches that are grounded in systematic, empirical
evidence. Substantively, much of the readings focus on explaining
behavior in democratizing nations.
Weekly topics cover: The Nature of Public Opinion; Postmaterial Value
Change; Comparative Political Tolerance; Citizens and the Mass
Media;  Political Participation; Party Alignments I: Conceptual
Foundations; Party Alignments II: Evidence for Voter (Re)-Alignments;
Party Alignments III:  Spatial, Directional, and Other Models;
Political Parties; Electoral Choice in Democratizing Nations; The
Representation of Citizen Interests.
Participation in the seminar constitutes one important portion of
your grade (about 40%). To get participants actively involved in
seminar meetings, each student will be the presenter of the assigned
reading material for 1 or 2 meetings (depending on the final number
of students in the seminar). The presenter will provide a summary,
around 2-3 pages single-spaced, of the assigned readings, discussing
(1) the conceptual and empirical issues raised, (2) an evaluation of
the conceptual and empirical problems encountered, (3) the
implications of the research, and (4) possible strategies to remedy
conceptual and/or empirical flaws. The handout is to be distributed
to seminar participants and the instructor. Non-presenters should
carefully read and evaluate the summary in light of their own
evaluation of the reading material. Non-presenters are to write a 1-2
page memorandum about the assigned reading material. The memorandum
should raise conceptual questions, raise methodological issues--in
short, make suggestions which aspect of the reading material you
would like to see addressed by seminar participants. This memorandum
is also to be distributed to every seminar participant.