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Comparative Government

POL 221W

Comparative Government

POL 221W

Course Description

Prerequisite: LEVEL 2 READING or LEVEL 2 WRITING or co-enrollment in ENG 98. Studies major European and selected non-western political systems. Emphasizes the techniques of comparative analysis and concepts of modernization, political development, and political culture. (This course satisfies the American Government graduation requirement in all curricula.) (45-0)

Outcomes and Objectives

Recognize the importance of studying the political systems, behavior, and values of other countries.

Objectives:

  • Relate knowledge of the politics of foreign countries to a better understanding of our own political system.
  • Demonstrate how knowledge of the politics of foreign countries allows us as citizens to discuss and evaluate more intelligently U.S. policy and attitudes toward those countries.
  • Use the ways in which different governments respond to similar problems to suggest how a community of nations can manage global challenges.

Assess conceptual frameworks used in political science to describe, explain, and classify different political systems.

Objectives:

  • Explain and apply the Aristotelian Theory for classifying political systems
  • Explain and apply Max Weber's stages of political development (traditional, charismatic, and bureaucratic).
  • Explain and apply classifications of political systems based on structural differentiation and cultural secularization.
  • Test how well these frameworks explain continuity and change in different political systems.
  • Evaluate the ability of these frameworks to formulate generalizations based on unique and different political systems that advance our understanding of comparative politics.

Analyze how individuals and groups influence political institutions in different political systems.

Objectives:

  • Assess the influence on political behavior of: historical background, geography, economic and social conditions, ethnic and caste groups, religious beliefs and ideologies.
  • Relate the nature of political institutions in different systems to: political culture and political socialization; the role of political parties and interest groups; the manner in which individual citizens participate in civic affairs; the ways in which rulers are chosen.
  • Suggest causal links between forms of political behavior and how political institutions exercise power.

Analyze forms of military involvement in politics in different political systems.

Objectives:

  • Describe the roles performed by the military in different political systems.
  • Assess the ability of the military to act as modernizers in developing societies.
  • Evaluate methods used in different political systems to assure civilian control of the military.
  • Draw conclusions regarding the appropriateness of the military's intervention in politics.

Assess the ability of political institutions in different systems to make and administer public policies.

Objectives:

  • Identify the basic functions performed by political institutions in all systems.
  • Compare and contrast different political systems in terms of: use of constitutions or basic laws; geographical division of power (unitary or federal system); the nature of executive authority; legislatures and assemblies; the role assigned to courts of law.
  • Evaluate the ability of political institutions in different systems to: maintain order, protect national security, resolve the competitive demands of individuals and groups, provide vital services.
  • Judge the strengths and weaknesses of the policy-making processes used in different political systems.
  • Draw conclusions regarding the appropriateness of political institutions and policy processes used in western and non-western democracies, and western and non-western authoritarian systems.

Analyze the ability of different political systems to deal with social conflict.

Objectives:

  • Describe the types and causes of social conflict in different systems.
  • Evaluate approaches used in different systems to ameliorate conflict related to the process of modernization.
  • Identify conditions that facilitate the export of conflict from one country to another.
  • Assess prospects for successful intervention in extreme cases of social conflict by external actors (nations, regional, or universal).
  • Develop a model for how unique political systems can manage social conflict.

Write effectively for a specific audience and purpose.

Objectives:

  • Articulate clearly important ideas.
  • Select, organize, and present details to support a main idea.
  • Employ the conventions of written, edited, standard English.
  • Quote, paraphrase and summarize accurately.
  • Document sources in a conventional style.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary for the audience and purpose.

Demonstrate the learning of concepts through writing

Objectives:

  • Analyze course content in written form.
  • Explain the subject matter in a coherent writing style.