Uploaded by Alex

Syllabus CPS Fall 2023 draft 5Sep2023

Constructor University, Fall 2023
CH-320 – Introduction to the Social Sciences I: Politics and Society
CH-320-A – Comparing Political Systems (5 ECTS)
(draft version 4th September 2023)
Instructor: Dr. Franziska Deutsch
South Hall, room 314
Office hours:
Tuesday, 11:00-12:00; 17:00-18:00
Additional appointments via email
Teaching Assistant:
Course schedule
(exception: 03.10 and 31.10. are public
Monday, 20.11.
Tuesday, 21.11.
IRC Seminar Room 2
Room tba
Excursion to the Bremische Bürgerschaft
(Bremen Parliament)
This module is part of the unit “Introductions”, which consists of two parts – “Introduction to the Social
Sciences 1” and “Introduction to the Social Sciences 2”. This unit lays a solid foundation of general
knowledge of basic concepts of the social sciences for the SMP modules offered in the second year. The
module is mandatory for a minor in SMP.
Module/Course Description
This is an introductory module that provides the essentials for understanding contemporary societies.
Students will be introduced to basic concepts of political science and sociology. They will study the main
differences between democracies and other kind of political regimes (the political science perspective)
and how the set-up of societies changes over time and differs across different regions of the world (the
sociological perspective). This module provides the basis on which students progress to the second part
of the Introduction to the Social Sciences in their second semester. Students will also develop early
presentation skills and will be able to improve their grade by a voluntary presentation. The module
provides an introduction to different forms of political systems and comparative analysis. Students
learn about relevant theories, concepts and methods of comparative politics, which are then – during
the semester – applied to the empirical study of political structures and institutions (e.g., legislative and
executive branch, elections and electoral systems), political actors and processes (e.g., political parties
and party systems, political participation), and (3) public policies in comparative perspective. Particular
attention will be paid to the analytical differentiation and empirical comparison between and within
regime types (democracy/autocracy).
Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)
By the end of this module, students should be able to:
Discipline Specific Skills
explain the main types of political systems, including democracy and autocracy, and learn about
diverse state structures and institutions and become familiar with important political concepts
such as power, legitimacy and ideology;
analyze complex, interdependent social and political structures and gain theoretical knowledge
of and practical skills in comparing political systems;
Transferable and Key Skills
find, read and understand complex, abstract scientific literature (including theoretical
literature); understand, explain and critically apply key concepts of the social sciences, identify
and critically analyze complex social issues, and develop critical faculty;
develop an interdisciplinary perspective on social issues, and explain real-life institutions,
processes, and structures using key contemporary theories of the disciplines involved;
reflect on their own behavior critically in relation to social expectations and consequences; and
deal with diversity, develop communicative competence as well as cooperation and conflict
skills, strengthen empathy and tolerance for ambiguity; 8. demonstrate presentation skills (if
voluntary presentation has been chosen).
Thematic overview
Based on the textbook “Comparative Politics” edited by Daniele Caramani (2023) with Oxford University
Press, the course will address the following topics:
Theories and methods of comparative politics (weeks 2-3)
What is comparative politics?
How to? Methods of comparative politics
The (historical) context (weeks 4-7)
Types of democracy: Lijphart’s ‘Patterns of Democracy’
Structure and institutions (weeks 8-10)
Legislative branch
Executive branch
Multilevel governance (with a glimpse of German federalism and Bremen’s role in
Elections (and electoral systems)
Actors and processes (weeks 12, 14)
Political parties (and party systems)
Political participation
Public policies (week 13)
A policy example: Welfare state
In addition, in week 11 there will be an excursion to the Bremen Parliament (Bremische Bürgerschaft).
Organization of the Course
Structure: The course is organized in weekly double sessions on Tuesday morning. There is one
additional session planned for the Monday lunch slot before the excursion to the Bremische
Bürgerschaft. Each week will address a new topic. For all details, please see the session plan.
Preparation for each class: The required reading is outlined in a session plan (syllabus). Syllabus and the
readings up to week 8 are uploaded on Teams. Due to copyright regulations, the other readings
(textbook) are available at the ‘Reserve Shelf’ of this course in the IRC where you can copy them. You
are expected to do the class reading for each week.
Non-graded quizzes: When applicable, the weekly sessions will start with an online quiz. The quiz will
address both your knowledge about the content of the previous session as well as of the assigned
reading of the current week. The quizzes have several objectives: One, they will help you (and me) to
assess your level of comprehension and to identify ‘blind spots’ in (y)our teaching/learning experience.
Two, they will serve as a starting point for informed class discussions. Three, they will give you an idea
about the material that will be covered in the final exam. The quizzes are not graded, they are meant to
serve as feedback.
Non-graded active participation in class: As this is a political science course, you are invited, encouraged
and also expected to contribute actively to class discussions. Questions are always welcome.
Voluntary bonus assignment (graded): In line with the university policies, it is possible to give an
individual presentation as a bonus assignment in this class. A list of presentation topics (questions) for
each week is suggested by the course instructor but other topics/ideas/suggestions are welcome as
well. You can sign up for a presentation on a first-come, first-serve basis. This presentation is voluntary
and meant to give you bonus points for the final exam. The assessment of the presentation can range
between 0 and 10 points, equivalent to percentage points that can count towards your final grade of
this module component. Achieving full 10 points is equivalent to 10 percentage points or 0.67 grading
points – this could, for example, improve your grade in the final exam from 77% (2,33) to 87% (1,67) as
the overall course grade. The bonus assignment cannot negatively affect your course grade. In other
words: You can either take the final exam and have the final exam grade comprise 100% of your course
grade, or you give a presentation and have those points counted towards module component grade.
The bonus points apply at the level of the module component, i.e. the course, not the module.
Please note that the presentation topics (formulated as questions) are not a simple summary of the
class reading but address specific questions/topics that go beyond that, inviting for critical thought and
reflection, and requiring additional research. The presentation should be at max. 8 minutes long and
finish with at least one discussion question for the class. The presentation should be prepared as a
video and uploaded on TEAMS, deadline is the evening before the respective class, 6 p.m. Late uploads
or exceeding the time limit will not be accepted. If you need assistance, please contact the SMP Media
Center: https://www.smpmediacenter.com/ .
Elements of the assessment are:
Link to the week’s literature as a starting point. Use and application of theories (if applicable).
Inclusion of additional academic literature and empirical research, including proper
Critical and balanced reflection of the material presented.
Creativity and innovative thought.
Structure and clarity of presentation and argument.
Discussion question.
Time management.
Is the presentation question answered?
Examination type:
Module examination, 180 minutes.
Assessment type:
Written examination. Bonus points possible through bonus assignments.
The date of the exam will be centrally planned and communicated as part of the university’s final
examination schedule (usually published a few weeks before the end of the semester).
Session Plan
Textbook used:
Daniele Caramani (ed.) (2023): Comparative Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 6th ed.
Week 1: Tuesday, 5th September, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
Introduction to the course & organizational issues
Week 2: Tuesday, 12th September, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
Introduction: What is comparative politics?
Daniele Caramani (2023): Introduction to comparative politics (only pp. 1-10), in Caramani (2023).
Please also take a look at the boxes with the “Important works in comparative politics”.
Week 3: Tuesday, 19th September, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
How do we do comparative politics?
Paul Pennings and Hans Keman (2023): Comparative research methods (pp. 51-66), in Caramani (2023).
Week 4: Tuesday, 26th September, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
Anibal Perez-Linan (2023): Democracies (pp. 84-99), in Caramani (2023).
Week 5: Tuesday, 3th October, 2022 (8:15-11:00)
No class. Public holiday.
Week 6: Tuesday, 10th October, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
A typology of democracies: Arend Lijphart’s “Patterns of democracy”
Liphart, Arend (2012): Patterns of democracy. Government forms and performance in thirty-six
countries. 2nd edition. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Here: Chapters 2 and 3, pp. 9-45.
Week 7: Tuesday, 17th October, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
Natasha Lindstaedt (2023): Authoritarian regimes (pp. 100-114), in Caramani (2023).
Week 8: Tuesday, 24th October, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
The legislative branch: Parliament
Amie Kreppel (2023): Legislatures (pp. 117-139), in Caramani (2023).
The executive branch: Government
Wolfgang C. Müller (2023): Governments and bureaucracies (pp. 140-161), in Caramani (2023).
Week 9: Tuesday, 31st October, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
No class. Public holiday.
Week 10: Tuesday, 7th November, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
Elections, electoral systems and representation
Orit Kedar (2023): Electoral systems and representation (pp. 197-213), in Caramani (2023).
Week 11: Tuesday, 14st November, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
Political parties (and party systems)
Richard S. Katz (2023): Political parties (pp. 235-253), in Caramani (2023).
Additional class on Monday, 20th November, 2023 (13:00-14:00)
Multilevel governance (and a bit of German Federalism and Bremen’s role in it)
Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks and Arjan H. Schakel (2023): Multilevel governance (pp. 214-232), in
Caramani (2023).
For a glimpse of German federalism, please see: https://www.tatsachen-ueberdeutschland.de/en/politics-germany/federal-state .
Week 12: Tuesday, 21st November, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
Visit of the Bremische Bürgerschaft (Bremen Parliament)
Haus der Bürgerschaft
Am Markt 20
28195 Bremen
Week 13: Tuesday, 28th November, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
A policy example: Welfare state
Kees van Kersbergen and Philip Manow (2023): The welfare state (pp. 398-417), in Caramani (2023).
Week 14: Tuesday, 5th December, 2023 (8:15-11:00)
Political participation
Herbert Kitschelt and Philipp Rehm (2023): Political participation (pp. 334-352), in Caramani (2023).
Concluding remarks and exam prep