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

Fall 2009

GOV 390K • Comparative Study of Political Systems

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39410 M
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
BAT 5.102
Weyland, K

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 institutionalism, and rational choice (including rational-choice institutionalism). Thereafter, we will discuss a number of important substantive issues and topics, especially the political economy of the First World and Third World; revolution; democratization; parties and voting; and interest groups and social movements; and nationalism and ethnic conflict. 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


(preliminary listing; books marked with "?" may be replaced): 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) ? 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) ? David Laitin, Nations, States, and Violence (Oxford UP, 2007) ? 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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