Undergraduate Course Code: POL401H1S L0101
Political Parties in Comparative Perspective
This course provides an overview of the literature on political parties from a comparative perspective. Our goal is to explore the main questions, puzzles and theories on the origins, nature and effects 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 impact of parties on policy, and the role of parties in transitions to democracy and 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 relationship between parties and clientelism, and the role of dominant parties.
Format and Requirements