Politics and Institutions in Europe

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Vesselin Dimitrov CON 3.06, Dr Michael Bruter CON 4.06, Prof Torun Dewan CON 6.07 and Dr Eiko Thielemann CON 3.14

Dr Alexander Herzog, CON 4.21


This course is available on the BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics, BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in International Relations, BSc in Politics and Philosophy and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Students must have completed Introduction to Political Science (GV101).

Course content

The course aims to give students an understanding of the full range of leading topics and areas of debate and research relevant to the analysis of political institutions and politics in Europe. The course focuses on both traditional fields of comparative enquiry, such as the study of party competition and voting behaviour, and emerging fields of interest, such as national and European identities, and Europeanisation. The course places particular emphasis on the diverse experiences of liberal democracy in different parts of Europe. The course covers not only long-established democracies in Western Europe, but also the relatively new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe. In the Lent Term, the course will study in detail a number of European countries, analysing the main developments in the country concerned in the last twenty years (elections, parties, governments), and then examining issues of particular interest related to that country. Course topics include: electoral behaviour; parties and party systems; parliamentary governance; government formation and coalitions; regionalism and federalism; national and European identities; and the challenge of Europeanisation.


10 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Indicative reading

M Gallagher et al, Representative Government in Modern Europe (5th edn) (2011); P Heywood et al (Eds), Developments in European Politics (2006); T Bale, European Politics: A Comparative Introduction (2nd edn) (2008); I Budge et al, The Politics of the New Europe: Atlantic to Urals (1997); S Hix, The Political System of the European Union (2nd edn) (2005); V Dimitrov, K H Goetz & H Wollmann, Governing after Communism: Institutions and Policymaking (2006); J Elster et al, Institutional Design in Post-Communist Societies (1998); J Hayward & E Page (Eds), Governing the New Europe (1994); J-E Lane & S O Ersson, Politics and Society in Western Europe (1999).


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 11.2
2:1 67.6
2:2 18.8
Third 1.8
Fail 0.6

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2012/13: 67

Average class size 2012/13: 13

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills

Course survey results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 68.3%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


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Recommend (Q2.9)