• One aim of this course is to make students familiar with the basic rules of comparative research, the most influential approaches in comparative political science, and some of the most salient topics in this sub-discipline of political science. It will help students to evaluate the methodological merits of those political science publications that use a comparative approach, to recognize which intellectual tradition they belong to, and to design their own comparative research strategy. As part of course work, students will write position papers and final papers, they will participate during in-class discussions and prepare In-class presentations. The position papers are expected to help develop the ability to synthesize information, determine a focus point and discern the main line of argumentation. The final paper is expected to improve the ability to generate logical, plausible and persuasive arguments, to compare and contrast, and to derive theoretical conclusions from comparative empirical observations. The emphasis on in-class participation and in-class presentations is meant to foster the skills of expressing informative reflections 'on the spot' and to decrease potential fears of speaking in front of others.

    The course is structured into four parts. In the first part we discuss some basics of the comparative method, such as the logic of theory testing, the processes of concept formation and data aggregation, and the question of an adequate selection of cases. In the second part we will read some pieces on the 'meta'-theoretical paradigms in comparative research. In the third part, we will deal with some of the major themes in comparative social research, paying specific attention to the most salient political institutions and to the issues of varieties of democracies. In the last part, students present drafts of their final paper. The course meets twice a week. Most of the time, the first meeting of each week will be predominantly organized as a lecture, the second predominantly as a seminar.

  • Write a concise and interesting paragraph here that explains what this course is about
  • The course intends to acquaint students with some aspects of foreign policy analysis. The course emphasizes the role of instrumental rationality and the limits of it in various decision situations.

  • 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.