Political Science | Comparative Politics: Electoral & Party Systems
Y657 | 22168 | Bielasiak

The seminar examines major issues in the study of elections and
party systems in a comparative context.   The topic concerns one of
the principal themes in the study of political science, as evident
in the preponderance of works on elections and parties in the
discipline’s top journals and monographs.   We will read some of the
foundational literature in the field (e.g. Duverger, Lipset and
Rokkan, Sartori), “contemporary” classics (e.g. Lijphart, Taagepera
and Shugart,) and current cutting edge research (e.g. Mainwaring,
Norris).  The seminar’s content includes literature relevant to both
established democracies and democratizing states.
The topics covered in the course begin with a look at the origins of
political parties, the institutional design of electoral systems,
and parties as organizations, move on to consider such issues as
party systems, political competition,  electoral volatility, and
conclude with questions of parties and representation, and the
quality of democracy.  In addition, we will examine the development
of electoral and party systems in the major regions of the world.
Requirements include class participation, critical essays on two
weekly topics, and a research paper.