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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Political Science (PL SC)

PL SC 020 (GS;IL) Comparative Politics--Western Europe (3) Comparative analysis of political cultures, interest groups, parties, and decision-making processes in principal Western European political systems.

PL SC 020 Comparative Politics-Western Europe (3)
(GS)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

The goal of this class is to learn how to compare democratic processes. Therefore, this course is organized by components of political systems rather than individual countries. We will begin with basic information and an overview of organizing principles of modern democracy. Then we will examine the institutional structures of democracies: legislatures, executives, bureaucracies, and federal structures. We will then cover societal interests and social cleavages and the way in which they are organized to influence government. The third section of the course focuses on elections, political parties, party systems, and government formation. Finally, we will examine the effects the rise of the EU on West European governments and their capacity to represent citizens' interests.

Readings in this class will focus on seven countries: France, Britain, Germany, Italy, and Sweden, Netherlands, and Spain. Working in groups students will choose one additional country to study over the course of the semester. Students will use their detailed knowledge of different political systems, from their own study and the readings in the textbook and the web, to assess the larger arguments about how citizens' interests are represented in democratic systems. Evaluation in this course will be based on class participation, quizzes, group projects, and exams. Evaluation methods will vary with instructors. PL SC 20 satisfies the Comparative Politics component of the International Politics Major and the Comparative Politics distribution requirement for the Political Science major. It is recommended for study abroad in Europe. PL SC 20 is a prerequisite for several PL SC 400- level courses. PL SC 20 will be offered once a year with 35 seats per offering.


General Education: GS
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Fall 2007

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.