GV467 Half Unit
Introduction to Comparative Politics
This information is for the 2018/19 session.
Dr Steffen Hertog
This course is compulsory on the MSc in Comparative Politics. This course is available on the MSc in China in Comparative Perspective. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.
Optional for MSc China in Comparative Perspective (space permitting).
This course serves as the 'core', compulsory course for the MSc in Comparative Politics and is intended to provide an overarching theoretical and methodological backdrop for all of the diverse course offerings available to students on this programme. The course introduces students to the field of Comparative Politics as represented in contemporary journals like Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, and Comparative Studies in Society and History, and among the various members of the Comparative Politics Group in the Government Department here at the LSE. Students examine the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of Comparative Politics, important critiques of these underpinnings, and diverse examples of 'best practice' in research and writing in this sub-field of the discipline of Politics or Political Science.
Lectures and seminar discussions focus both on important areas of research in comparative politics and methodological challenges involved. Readings treat such variegated topics of inquiry and debate in comparative politics as democracy, ethnic conflict, civil society, and revolutions.
The course does not follow a 'great books' approach nor rely on a textbook. Instead, the course treats examples of real existing Comparative Politics as practiced - and published - by leading scholars in the field in recent years. These examples are chosen to cover diverse forms of comparison, diverse modes of analysis, diverse topic areas, and diverse countries and regions of the world.
Cutting across these forms of diversity are a set of questions that will be addressed throughout the course. These questions concern the possibilities and limitations of various methods of comparative analysis for explaining observable patterns in politics.
15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT.
There will be a reading week in Week 6.
Week 11 will focus on revision.
One unassessed essay of roughly 1,500 words.
Alasdair MacIntyre, ‘Is a Science of Comparative Politics Possible?’Theda Skocpol, States and Social Revolutions. Ashutosh Varshney, ‘Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: India and Beyond.. Hall, Peter A. ‘Adapting Methodology to Ontology in Comparative Politics’. Doner, Richard F., Bryan K. Ritchie, and Dan Slater ‘Systemic Vulnerability and the Origins of Developmental States: Northeast and Southeast Asia in Comparative Perspective’.
Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the January exam period.
Student performance results
(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)
|Classification||% of students|
Total students 2017/18: 55
Average class size 2017/18: 14
Controlled access 2017/18: No
Lecture capture used 2017/18: Yes (MT)
Value: Half Unit
Personal development skills
- Problem solving
Course survey results
(2014/15 - 2016/17 combined)1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score
The scores below are average responses.
Response rate: 82%
Reading list (Q2.1)
Course satisfied (Q2.4)