Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Courses

PAIR2040 Comparative Party Politics (Quant)

Module Overview

This course aims to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the role and functions that political parties play in contemporary democracies. While some recent accounts suggest the decline of parties, they remain key actors in articulating popular demands and representing them in the policymaking process, mobilizing the masses and recruiting and socialising political elites. This course examines how parties perform these functions in both older Western democracies and younger democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and other world regions. Among others, it will cover such topics as how parties are organised and how their organisation changed over time, the main theories of party competition, the debates related to party funding and its regulation by the state, the role of parties in structuring parliamentary politics, and the formation and termination of governments by parties. The students will also learn how to use quantitative methods to study political parties and party systems from a comparative perspective.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• Introduce students to the core concepts and theories in the field of comparative party politics • Provide students with the knowledge about the main developments in the party politics of Western and Central and Eastern Europe in the postwar period • Introduce students to and/or expanding their understanding of different methodological approaches in political science through the study of party politics, with a particular focus on the use of quantitative methods, such as correlation and linear regression analysis

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate understanding of core concepts relevant to party politics in established democracies in Western Europe and younger democracies in other world regions.
  • Show understanding of the theories explaining the key aspects of party politics, such as internal party organization and party competition.
  • Summarise the main empirical facts about parties and party systems in Europe and beyond.
  • Understand the changing role of political parties in contemporary democracies.
  • Evaluate and reflect on everyday developments in party politics in the UK and other countries using the concepts, theories and empirical knowledge obtained during the course.
  • Understand how various phenomena in party politics can be studied empirically in a systematic way using quantitative methods.

Syllabus

Political parties are key actors in articulating popular demands and representing them in the policymaking process, mobilizing the masses and recruiting and socialising political elites. This course examines how parties perform these functions in both older Western democracies and younger democracies in Central and Eastern Europe and other world regions. Each week will be devoted to a substantive topic in the field of party politics. The examples of the themes addressed include the internal organization of political parties, the relationship between parties and the state, political cleavages, the impact of electoral institutions on party systems, the spatial theories of party competition, the emergence of new parties, the role of parties in parliamentary politics, and the formation and termination of governments by parties. A substantial share of the academic articles and books assigned for the course will use quantitative methodology. The first class will take the format of a lecture providing the students with the overview of how various quantitative methods can be used to examine political phenomena. The examples used in this lecture will be based on the concepts and theories addressed in the course. The second class, taking the format of a tutorial, will aim to support students with the use of quantitative methods for their research projects.

Special Features

None

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The course is delivered by a combination of lectures and seminars with the approximately equal distribution of both methods of delivery. Each student will have 2 weekly contact hours.

TypeHours
Completion of assessment task82
Lecture12
Preparation for scheduled sessions44
Seminar12
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Gallagher, M., Laver, M., and Mair, P. (2011). Representative government in modern Europe. 

Databases:. Comparative Political Data Set, 1960-2014. http://www.cpds-data.org/index.php/data European Representative Democracy (ERD). http://www.erdda.se/index.php/projects/erd/data-archive. Chapel Hill Expert Survey (CHES). http://chesdata.eu Manifesto Project Database (MARPOR) https://manifestoproject.wzb.eu/ Political Party Database (PPDB). https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataset.xhtml?persistentId=doi:10.7910/DVN/0NM7KZ&version=1.0

Journal Articles. Articles from journals such as: Party Politics, Electoral Studies, European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Politics, Comparative Political Studies, World Politics, American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, British Journal of Political Science.

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 30%
Reflection 15%
Research project  (3000 words) 55%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2000 words) 50%
Essay  (2000 words) 50%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: PAIR1006

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×