• This course introduces students to three influential traditions of thought in political economy. It provides an insight into Marxist and neo-Marxist theories, historical institutionalism, and economic approaches to politics based on assumptions of neo-classical economics. Through selected readings and class discussions, students will become familiar with these theories’ distinct contributions to our understanding of how the social structure, actors’ interests, institutions and ideas shape particular economic and political outcomes.

  • Course description

    This course offers a broad and comprehensive examination of the interaction between capital and labor across European countries. Institutionalist and actor-oriented theories serve as the framework for an empirically grounded comparative and historical analysis of developments in organized labor and capital actors’ strategies, the emergence of institutions governing the employment relationship, and social policy.

    The course is structured in three parts. The first part studies the theoretical foundations of industrial relations, the emergence of the role of labor as an important political actor in Europe and institutionalization of the capital-labor compromise at the level of nation states. The second part examines core topics in industrial relations and their contemporary transformations, i.e. wage bargaining, social pacts, Europeanization of social dialogue, etc., development of labour standards, the role of multinational firms, etc.. Particular attention is paid to the impact of structural processes, i.e. globalization and European integration, as well as to strategic interactions and power struggles between involved actors, i.e. trade unions, employers’ associations and governments. The third part addresses developments in industrial relations in postsocialist countries. In particular, we attempt at understanding actors’ roles and the process of institution building in Eastern European countries after 1989, and implications on institution building and strategies of organized labor and capital in the enlarged European Union.

    Objectives and outcomes

    The course fosters a comprehensive understanding of core problems in the political economy of industrial relations from different theoretical perspectives and at different analytical levels. Students shall improve their analytical skills through weekly written assignments and the end term paper; and their oral communication skills through in-class presentations and discussions.

    Course structure

    Two classes will take place each week. The first class is a lecture on the week’s topic and a general discussion. The second class is a seminar aiming at relating the week’s topic to broader political and societal developments in modern capitalist societies, i.e. the quality of life, democracy, labor market developments, etc. Active participation of students in seminar discussions is expected and encouraged. For the second class each student prepares a short position paper with questions and remarks to be discussed in class. The seminar discussions in the week’s second class are based on students’ comments and questions of interest.


    § A short position paper (max. 1 page) on each week’s required readings (20% of final grade). Position papers are to be e-mailed to the lecturer and other course participants one day before each week’s first class. In this position paper, the student presents the core argument of the week’s assigned literature and formulates an applied question or remark for the seminar discussion in the week’s second class.

    § Regular attendance and active participation in class discussions (10% of final grade)

    § One in-class presentation on that week’s required and some of the recommended readings (10%). Student presentations take place from Week 3 to Week 11.

    § One mid-term take-home exam (30% of final grade)

    § One end-term paper (30% of final grade). The 10-15 page (double-spaced) paper should comprehensively discuss a selected topic discussed in the course, based on the required, recommended and other relevant readings. Moreover, students should relate the paper’s topic to an empirical problem of their particular interest and discuss the application of the presented arguments to this problem. Empirical problems concern i.e. economic, political or social developments in a particular country or at the European level.

  • This is a four-credit MA-level course that is open to students with an interest in any one of the following fields: political communication; comparative politics; voting behavior and public opinion; empirical democratic theory; and the methodology of quantitative research. It introduces students to the study of mass political behavior in general and voting behavior in particular. It examines in detail the impact of social cleavages, economic conditions, ideology, political issues, party identification, factual information, campaigns and various other factors on how voters decide. We will explore how institutional contexts have an influence on whether elections hold policy-makers accountable to citizens and responsive to popular preferences and what evidence empirical political science offers on this question. Our central substantive question will be how much constraint mass democracy can establish for policy choices, given the limits both to the information and other political resources possessed by individual citizens and to the clarity of their preferences. The implications of different models of representation for political theory and public policy primarily are explored from this angle, while also giving some attention to the practical lessons that can be drawn for party strategists and political information campaigns. The course also pays attention to the philosophy and methods of quantitative analyses in electoral research, and offers a hands-on introduction to the use of statistical software (R, SPSS or STATA, or any mix of the three, depending on the preferences of course participants) with which you can conduct your own analyses of some of the empirical data employed in the readings.
  • With all but a handful of states now declaring themselves
    democratic, and with the number of ‘actual democracies’/free societies on the rise, there seems to be little necessity for understanding authoritarian politics. However, authoritarianism is resilient and manifold. There are about fifty countries in the world today that are considered not free, and many more that can only be considered as partly free. The course offers a comparative outlook to the study of authoritarianism, and more generally a discussion of the breakdown of democracies, regime change, the outbreak of revolutions/rebellions. It combines a theoretical reflection on political transformation broadly conceived (democratization, transition to authoritarianism)
    with a focus on the conditions that lead to the emergence, consolidation and collapse of non democratic regimes. Empirical manifestations of non democratic politics in various parts of the world, including post-communist Eurasia, post-colonial Africa,
    the Middle East and East Asia, will be considered.
  • The course examines philosophical and methodological questions relevant to research in the social and political sciences, focusing on the nature of explanation in the social sciences. The course is interdisciplinary by nature, drawing arguments from various fields such as philosophy, politics, economics, psychology, anthropology and sociology. Special attention will be given to fostering the ability to draw together arguments on a particular topic from relevant discussions in different disciplines. Topics covered include casual explanation vs. interpretation, functional explanation, rational choice and game theory, collective and co-operative action, evolutionary psychology, objectivity and relativism, imitation, social learning, and relations between cognitive and social sciences. The course also aims to foster skill at making effective philosophical and methodological arguments in relation to substantive issues in the social sciences, and to enable students to analyze an interpret various kinds of explanation