Fall/Winter Timetable

POL2321H1F L0201

Undergraduate Course Code: POL438H1F L0201

Topics in Comparative Politics I

Parties and Party Systems in Comparative Perspective


This course provides an overview of the literature on comparative political parties. Our goal is to explore the main questions, puzzles and theories on the origins and nature of parties and party systems. Why do parties arise? How do institutions, societal cleavages and strategic action shape parties and party systems? Why do some countries have more parties than others? What explains differences in ideology and party organization? We will also study the effects of parties on the quality of democracy and governance, as well as their role in non-democratic regimes. Finally, we take a look at specific issues of party change, party system collapse, party competition, and party institutionalization in developed and developing democracies including the role of ethnic parties, the rise of extremist parties, the relationship between parties and clientelism, and the role of dominant parties.


TBA (articles and book chapters, no textbooks).

Format and Requirements

One two-hour seminar per week. Course requirements TBA.