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Бакалаврская программа «Политология и мировая политика»


Seminar “Politics and Societies in the European Countries”

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
3-й курс, 3 модуль


Course Syllabus


The course offers an overview on the political systems of European countries, with a particular emphasis on institutions - both in the political and the economic spheres. The course structure is based around various typologies classifying regimes, welfare states and political dynamics. The course starts with outlining the conceptual background, through an introduction of two typologies: by Arend Lijphart and Gosta EspingAndersen. While the former focuses on political institutions, the latter does on economic structures. In the following weeks, we will proceed following Lijpart‟s logic, focusing on majoritarian, consensual and fragmented regimes, with a particular emphasis on the variation within the given categories. The second part of the course will focus on political dynamics: democracy-building, democratic transition, democratic consolidation and democratic backsliding. Though the class aims to introduce European politics in a comparative perspective, one session will also be dedicated to the ever-moving target of academic inquiry: European integration. Nevertheless, we will primarily address the interplay between European and domestic politics in EU member states.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To give students a comparative overview of the political institutions and processes in the European countries
  • To acquaint students with the basic trends of socio-economic and societal development of the European countries, including the peculiarities of public policy-making
  • To develop students' skills in application of theoretical models to the analysis of political and socio-economic processes in European countries
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Defines the main characteristics of the public policy making in Europe
  • Applies the theoretical models of democracy (consensus and majoritarian) and their elements to the analysis of political systems and institutions of European countries
  • Defines and applies the models of welfare state and their key elements to analyze the patterns of public policy-making in European countries
  • Describes the main features of societies and societal trends in Europe
  • Enumerates and describes the main features of political systems, institutions and processes in European countries
  • Enumerates and describes the main patterns, trends and models in political regime dinamycs of the European countries
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Varieties of capitalism, democracy and autocracy in Europe
    These session aim to introduce the general conceptual background of the course, addressing various political and institutional typologies which can help to obtain an overview on political and economic systems in Europe. On the one hand, a critical discussion on concepts and typologies are offered; on the other hand, the two main guiding typologies for the course (patterns of democracy by Arend Lijphart and varieties of welfare regimes by Gosta EspingAndersen) are introduced.
  • Varieties of majoritarianism: semipresidentialism and the Westminster model in France and Britain
    Following the overview on democratic regime typologies, we turn to majoritarian regimes – a generally rare phenomenon in Europe. By comparing France and Great Britain, two countries with centuries-long democratic traditions are under scrutiny, even though with radically different trajectories: while Great Britain has reached its current institutional shape through a long and incremental procedure, the political history of France can be regarded as a long sequence of abrupt and institutional changes. Beyond investigating the importance of historical trajectories in the development of these regimes, the impact of their more recent institutional changes will also be under scrutiny.
  • Consensus democracies
    By investigating the rather dominant type of European regimes, our attention will be dedicated to general questions. On the one hand, concerning the reasons and path dependencies leading to the widespread nature of parliamentary regimes in Europe. On the other hand, the supposed policy outcome tendencies of these regimes will also be investigated, asking whether these regimes are truly „kinder, gentler‟ (following Lijphart‟s terminology)?
  • Diversity and democracy
    Following the topic of consensus democracy, our attention will turn to the most radical form of consensual governance and power-sharing, the cases of democracy in divided societies. On the one hand, conceptual approaches to the relationship between democracy and ethnic, cultural, linguistic or religious differences will be overviewed. On the other hand, different European examples of managing diversity (Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Ireland and Switzerland) will be introduced, by assessing their usefulness through the lens of the aforementioned theories.
  • Democracy by design: the cases of post-World War Germany and Italy
    The second part of the course will have a stronger emphasis on political dynamics; as a start, the importance of institutional design will be under scrutiny. By comparing the cases of Germany and Italy following World War II, one can investigate the implications of various institutional design choices under relatively favorable circumstances and large discretion of institutional designers.
  • Patterns of democratic transitions in Europe
    The second session dedicated to democratic transitions will focus on the process of transition itself, especially in cases where external agency was involved only to a lesser extent. During these sessions, the two main recent waves of democratization – of Southern Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, and of Eastern Europe in the 1980s and 1990s – will be reviewed, mostly guided by the seminal works of Philippe Schmitter and Guillermo O‟Donnel.
  • Illiberalism and democratic backsliding in Europe: the cases of Hungary and Poland
    Following our discussions on democratization, the other side of the phenomenon, democratic backsliding will also be under scrutiny. On the one hand, the conceptual relationship between democratic consolidation and democratic stability will be investigated, with a particular emphasis on the possibilities of backsliding. On the other hand, two recent and prominent cases of backsliding, Hungary and Poland will be more closely introduced; the fact that both countries are members of the EU and once were considered consolidated democracies invite a number of puzzling questions.
  • Between integration and sovereignty: the interplay of European and domestic politics
    As the course is dedicated to the comparative analysis of European countries, these sessions do not aim introducing the core features of European integration. However, the increasingly important factor of European politics, the European Union cannot be missed from a course like that. Therefore, our aim will be finding a more general theory on how EU membership influences the politics of individual countries.
  • Group presentation
  • Essay
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class Participation
    In the class participation component, the following qualities can result in a maximal grade:  frequency and concision of class participations  originality of class contribution  connection between preparation materials and class contributions  contribution to class discussion dynamics  participation in maintaining an inspiring class environment
  • non-blocking Project Work (Presentation)
    In the presentation, the following qualities can result in a maximal grade:  conceptual rigor and analytical engagement  clear connection between conceptual and empirical elements  clarity and sharpness of argument  thought-provoking elements
  • non-blocking Essay
    In the essay, the following qualities can result in a maximal grade:  focus on the assigned problems  a good balance between the usage of the assigned readings and external literature/sources  clarity, sharpness and robustness of argument
  • non-blocking Exam
    The exam (EX) will be an 80 minutes-long closed-book exam reflecting both on factual knowledge and argumentative skills.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    The cumulative grade (GC) is calculated, based on the following equation: GC= 0,4•project (presentation) +0,4•essay+0,2•in-class participation. The final grade (GF) is calculated as follows: GF = 0,5•GC + 0,5•GEX, where: GEX - grade for the final exam


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Esping-Andersen, G., & United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. (1996). Welfare States in Transition : National Adaptations in Global Economies. London: SAGE Publications Ltd. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=309783
  • Lijphart, A. (DE-588)122454499, (DE-576)161993060. (1999). Patterns of democracy : government forms and performance in thirty-six countries / Arend Lijphart. New Haven [u.a.]: Yale University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.07968176X
  • The Oxford handbook of comparative politics / ed. by Carles Boix . (2007). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.253058961

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Andeweg, R. B. (2000). Consociational Democracy. Annual Review of Political Science, 3(1), 509. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.polisci.3.1.509
  • Choudhry, S. (2008). Constitutional Design for Divided Societies : Integration or Accommodation? Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=467636
  • Middleton, R. (2010). The Oxford Handbook of British Politics. By Matthew Flinders, Andrew Gamble, Colin Hay, and Michael Kenny. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.93428C94
  • Radaelli, C. M., & Featherstone, K. (2003). The Politics of Europeanization. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=257780
  • Strohmeier, G. (2015). Does Westminster (still) represent the Westminster model? An analysis of the changing nature of the UK’s political system. European View, 14(2), 303–315. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12290-015-0368-0