POL S 447 C: Advanced Seminar In Comparative Politics

Meeting Time: 
M 1:30pm - 4:20pm
Location: 
* *
SLN: 
24061
Joint Sections: 
JSIS 578 F, POL S 548 A
Instructor:
Prof. Niko Switek
Niko Switek

Syllabus Description:

Colored board game pawns resembling parliamentary groups

JSIS 578C / PolS 548 / POLS 447 C: Comparative Political Parties - Party Systems and Party Organizations in Old and New Democracies

Instructor

Niko Switek

Mail: switek@uw.edu

Phone: 206 616 9232

Office: Gowen Hall 45

Course Summary:

Political Parties are building blocks and crucial elements of democratic systems. As organizations they act as a link or intermediary between citizens and the state, through party competition the electorate can chose between candidates and policies. Research on parties is correspondingly either focused on their interactions (e.g. characteristics of party systems) or focusing on their organizational character as democratic, fragmented, multi-level entities. This class looks at both strands: Definitions and typologies of party systems are discussed and criteria to describe and compare systems evaluated. We compare the US-version of a two-party system with the variants of multi-party systems prevalent in Europe. We inspect different methods and techniques to determine party positions in a policy space and established data sources containing this information.

Regarding the organizational character of parties, different approaches to capture the unique shape of a formal bottom-up democratic structure and an accountable leadership are discussed (e.g. typologies, theoretical frameworks and micropolitical perspectives). The class also covers more recent institutionalist approaches, which try to incorporate a process dimension and ask about origins and genesis of parties (especially relevant for younger democracies). Concerning the parliamentary arena, legislative behavior of parties is scrutinized and logics and mechanism of government formation are examined. We analyze the more recent phenomenon of populist parties and if and how they differ from their established competitors. Finally, overlapping with research on European integration we assess the role of party organizations on European level (so called 'Europarties') with their special character as 'parties of parties'.

Online-seminar:

The ongoing Corona virus pandemic affects us all. It forces us to conduct this seminar, originally designed as an in-person-class, as a purely online-learning space. In addition, you might find yourself personally in difficult and worrisome situations, which make it harder to study and concentrate. As an instructor, I plan to be flexible, patient, and compassionate with you. The main goal is to allow for a positive learning experience despite the uncertainties surrounding this quarter.

As this is a small graduate seminar, I set the class up synchronously, so it very much resembles a regular class. If you feel comfortable and your internet connection is stable enough, I would suggest you share your video, as this gives us a stronger impression of talking to human beings and not simply a screen. We will have breaks in between to be able to re-energize. This format is new to all of us, so I appreciate comments and feedback. I am willing to change elements as we go along, if this helps us to create a better learning environment.

Office Hours:

If you have questions concerning our class, you can schedule an online office hour appointment with me. My office hours are Tuesday 1-2 pm. Also this could either be following our weekly Zoom session or some other time during the week. Please e-mail me and let me know what your question is about. Zoom-link for office hours: https://washington.zoom.us/j/94467529650

Required Readings:

All required readings are available on the course’s canvas website, either as PDFs or as links to texts, which are open access or licensed by the UW library (computer on UW campus or vpn-connection required).

Assignments and Grading:

  • Class participation means regular attendance and active involvement in class discussions, which is important for the success of the class (20 % of your grade).
  • Students will write four (undergraduates three) short response papers over the course of the quarter. Response papers should develop an argument or explore a theme based on the readings for that week on the syllabus and should be about 2 to 3 pages in length. Students should upload their papers to Canvas by Thursday evening. Students are required to read all response papers before class and be prepared to discuss them in the context of the readings. (adds up to 40 % of your grade).
  • Students will write a final paper of approximately 15-18 pages (undergraduates 12-15). The paper is due Wednesday, December 16 2020 and has to be uploaded to the Canvas course site. The final paper accounts for 40 % of your grade and may take one of the following forms:
    • Review essay: This type of essay takes a selection of important works on a single theme and uses them as a starting point to lay out a fresh agenda for further research.
    • Research design: This type of paper treats the literature as a starting point to sketch a research project. It should contain a literature review that motivates the proposed research, a research design, a plan for relevant data, and a clear indication of how you will know whether your hypotheses find support in the data.
  • All papers should be font size 12, double spaced and have page numbers as well as course number and student's name and e-mail-address in the page header.
  • Please note that late assignments will NOT be accepted and make-up assignments will NOT be given except in cases of documented emergencies or with advance permission of the instructor. In the absence of these provisions late or missing assignments will receive a grad of “0”.

Grading Summary:

  • Active participation:             20 %
  • 4 (3) response papers:             40 %
  • Final paper :                       40 %

The grade page in Canvas will list the final grade as a percentage. The following table is used to convert the percentage into a 4.0 scale and the grade submitted to the UW registrar at the end of the class.

Percentage

4.0 Scale

Letter

 

Percentage

4.0 Scale

Letter

95-100

4

A

77

2.4

C+

94

3.9

76

2.3

93

3.9

75

2.2

92

3.8

A-

74

2.1

C

91

3.8

73

2.0

90

3.7

72

1.9

89

3.6

71

1.8

C-

88

3.5

70

1.7

87

3.4

B+

69

1.6

86

3.3

68

1.5

85

3.2

67

1.4

D+

84

3.1

B

66

1.3

83

1.0

65

1.2

82

2.9

64

1.1

D

81

2.8

B-

63

1.0

80

2.7

62

0.9

79

2.6

61

0.8

D-

78

2.5

60

0.7

 

0-59

0.0

E / F

See: https://www.washington.edu/students/gencat/front/Grading_Sys.html

Academic Integrity:

Plagiarism and cheating are serious offenses. If you have questions regarding your work or what might constitute plagiarism on any of your written assignments, speak to me first. Any work turned in for this class must be original work (i.e. not used for any other class).

Students with Disabilities:

Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course.

If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or uwdrs@uw.edu or disability.uw.edu. DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, your instructor(s) and DRS. It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Religious Accommodations:

Washington state law requires that UW develop a policy for accommodation of student absences or significant hardship due to reasons of faith or conscience, or for organized religious activities. The UW’s policy, including more information about how to request an accommodation, is available at Religious Accommodations Policy (https://registrar.washington.edu/staffandfaculty/religious-accommodation...). Accommodations must be requested within the first two weeks of this course using the Religious Accommodations Request form (https://registrar.washington.edu/ students/religious-accommodations-request/).

Additional Resources:

Political Science/JSIS/LSJ/GWSS Writing Center: https://depts.washington.edu/pswrite/

Catalog Description: 
Selected comparative political problems, political institutions, processes, and issues in comparative perspective. Strongly
Department Requirements: 
Comparative Politics Field
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Credits: 
5.0
Status: 
Active
Last updated: 
September 29, 2020 - 1:50pm