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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Summer 2007

GOV F325 • Political Parties

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
86035 MTWThF
2:30 PM-4:00 PM
MEZ 1.306

Course Description

This course focuses on the role political parties in representative democracies. We will study the variables that distinguish party systems in different countries, the historical development of parties, and the nature of parties in contemporary democratic societies. We will also explore how parties mobilize mass populations for political purposes, as well as the character of party elites, activists and supporters. The few sessions of the course are largely general and theoretical. Examples will be drawn from different countries to illustrate questions and arguments. The remainder of the course deals almost exclusively with the American parties. My approach will be thematic. By studying institutions and processes that are generally characteristic of parties in democratic systems, you will recognize that many features of the American parties are a particular configuration of more general phenomena. Through the readings and lectures on the U.S. party system you will develop a conceptual and theoretical understanding of not only American parties, but of political parties across the globe.

Grading Policy

Take-Home Essay 40% In-Class Exams Exam#1 25% Exam#2 25% Attendance and Participation in class 10%


Course Material include textbooks, a course packet, and related sites of interest. There are two assigned texts for the course. They are available at the University Co-Op bookstore. Marjorie Randon Hershey. Party Politics in America (11th ed), New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 2003 Alan Ware. Political Parties and Party Systems, New York: Oxford Press, 1997


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