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

Fall 2007

GOV 390K • Comparative Study of Political Systems

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40310 M
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
BAT 5.102

Course Description

This course will provide a very wide-ranging, theoretically and methodologically pluralistic introduction to the field of Comparative Politics. After a brief discussion of the great variety of methods that are applied in the field, we will compare and assess the major theoretical approaches ("paradigms") that Comparativists have drawn on, especially culturalism, Marxism, historical & sociological institutionalism, and rational choice (including rational-choice institutionalism). Thereafter, we will discuss a number of important substantive issues and topics, especially political and economic development in the First World and Third World; revolution; nationalism; democratization; parties and voting; and interest groups and social movements. The readings on these substantive topics will reflect the diverse theoretical and methodological approaches discussed before.

Grading Policy

3 2-3 pp. discussion papers to be distributed to all participants and to be presented and discussed in class 1 5 pp. essay 1 10 pp. essay or research design 1 final exam lots of participation in class discussion


Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel, Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy (Cambridge UP, 2005) Robert Bates, Markets and States in Tropical Africa (U. California Pr., 1984) Mark Lichbach, Is Rational Choice All of Social Science? (U. Michigan Pr., 2003) Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Huber Stephens & John Stephens, Capitalist Development and Democracy (U. Chicago Pr., 1992) Carles Boix, Democracy and Redistribution (Cambridge UP, 2003) * Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions (Cambridge UP, 1979) Guillermo O'Donnell and Philippe Schmitter, Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies (Johns Hopkins UP, 1986) Sidney Tarrow, Power in Movement, 2nd ed. (Cambridge UP, 1998) * Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, revised ed. (Verso, 1991) * Extensive electronic reserves and significant coursepack with xeroxed journal articles and book chapters * Book may be replaced if I can find a "fitting" alternative.


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