The University of Southampton
Courses

PAIR3039 Comparative Party Politics

Module Overview

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.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To provide students with an in-depth knowledge of the role and functions that political parties play in contemporary democracies

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
  • Understand how various phenomena in party politics can be studied empirically in a systematic way

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.

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
Teaching22
Independent Study128
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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.

Databases. 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

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

Assessment

Summative

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

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: PAIR1002 Political Systems 2016-17

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