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Regular version of the site

Politics and Societies in the European Countries

2023/2024
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
4
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
When:
3 year, 1, 2 module

Instructor

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The course offers an introduction to the politics in European countries, combining topical and regional approaches. The objectives of the course are twofold: to familiarize students with the political life of European countries, and to closely scrutinize concepts from comparative politics that are overrepresented in (and often are unique to) the European continent. The course structure therefore aims to combine these approaches, so most ideas (e.g. polarized parliamentary systems, consensus democracies) will be analyzed in the framework of a broader discussion on various regions (e.g. Mediterranean or Benelux countries).
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To familiarize students with the political life of European countries
  • To closely scrutinize concepts from comparative politics that are overrepresented in the European continent
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Able to conduct professional activities internationally
  • Can pose research problems relevant to the study of political phenomena and political processes; set particular research tasks; and put together a research design
  • Chooses research methods appropriate for resolving the professional tasks.
  • Can retrieve, collect, process and analyze information relevant for achieving goals in the professional field.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • A brief political history of Europe after 1945.
  • Majoritarian democracies: Great Britain and France.
  • Fragmented parliamentarism: is there a "Mediterranean model"?
  • Consensus and cooperation I: consociationalism and its variants (Alpine and Benelux countries).
  • Consensus and cooperation II: moderate parliamentarism and minority cabinets (Nordic countries).
  • Democracy by design: Germany.
  • Patterns of democratic transitions in Central and Eastern Europe.
  • Democratic backsliding and illiberalism: Hungary and Poland (+Bulgaria? Slovakia?).
  • The politics of conflict and reconciliation in post-war Europe.
  • Ideologies, Populism, and Polarization in Contemporary Europe
  • Position paper
  • Group presentation
  • Preparation for final exam
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Book review
    A book review will offer a critical review on an academic monograph addressing one of the course topics, countries, or regions.
  • non-blocking Final exam
    A final exam will reflect on the students’ familiarity with the core readings and factual knowledge on the discussed countries
  • non-blocking Position paper
    During the term, students are expected to submit a position paper, critically reflecting on one of the core readings
  • non-blocking Class participation
    Recommendations for class participation: - Meaningful engagement with the mandatory readings demonstrated - Own critical approach to the reading and lecture materials elucidated - By bringing in concepts and empirical examples from other fields of study, the student demonstrates a complex understanding of the introduced concepts - Contribution to the class dynamics: by reflecting on earlier points and comments, students can again demonstrate a practical understanding of the discussed concepts, as well as their abilities to understand the dynamics of ongoing discussions. Conversely, redundant and self-serving comments will lower the participation grade. - In case someone finds participation in discussions challenging, there is also an opportunity to send questions and comments related to the mandatory readings before the respective class sessions.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2023/2024 2nd module
    0.3 * Position paper + 0.2 * Book review + 0.1 * Class participation + 0.4 * Final exam
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Adam Fagan, & Petr Kopecký. (2018). The Routledge Handbook of East European Politics. Routledge.
  • Comparative politics / ed. by Daniele Caramani. (2011). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.330675516

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • José M. Magone. (2015). Routledge Handbook of European Politics. Routledge.
  • The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics. Edited by Carles Boix and Susan C. Stokes. Oxford University Press, 2009.