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Module information The aim of this module is to provide a better understanding of democratic political and economic processes in Europe. Learning and teaching methods Teaching on the module will be in the form of weekly seminars two hours.

The seminar will often start with a brief introductory lecture by the supervisor, leading to other seminar methods where the students are more actively involved student presentations, group discussion, recap quiz. Module supervisor and teaching staff. Teaching staff: Dr Alexandra Hennessy. Available to Outside Option: No. Available to Audit: No. Institution: University of Durham.

Academic role: Senior Lecturer. Teaching materials: Available via Moodle. Further information. Department website: Government. Privacy and Cookie Policy Disclaimer. All rights reserved. Macro-theories If most of such studies still proceeded from within-nation perspectives, there were of course also studies which had a more general sweep. Countries as variables Stein Rokkan's Werdegang Some lessons The study of single countries is a rewarding venture by itself. Configurative analysis is always fascinating, as it forces one to take note of the complex interaction of many variables, and brings one at least in close contact with real politics in the process.

One can improve insights in one country greatly by immersing oneself in at least one other country, and by seeking to explain the one country in the terminology and hidden assumptions of the latter. Most of us feel inclined to extrapolate generally positively, but sometimes negatively and critically the insights obtained from one's own country. Such a venture may increase the store of our knowledge. The rich resources of Scandinavian scholarship - so insufficiently known, although so visibly present in Gothenburg where I had the privilege to give this Rokkan lecture - is there to remind us that we should not fall for the easy assumption that the only important countries for comparative analysis are either large countries, or our own country.

Rokkan has taught us what nuggets the professional mining of information on smaller lands may bring us! Certain issues e. But there is always the likelihood and danger that country-specific factors interfere with the findings. Countries should not be treated as static phenomena. One should analyze not only the contemporary conditions, but also the longer-term develop-. General understanding cannot be reached in any short-cut manner. It demands a level of erudition few of us have. The demand for greater learning often sits uneasily with a simultaneous pressure for specialization and professionalization.

Perhaps, then, we should veer back to seeking greater erudition, now that we are becoming so professional?

Tim Bale on the most pressing issues in European politics

Given the enormous demand which acquiring a genuine knowledge of other countries both in their contemporary state and developmental characteristics makes on us, we should continue to promote joint research projects by teams of country specialists. All too often, however, these result in the juxtaposition of loose country-descriptions - of little or large Zanzibars - rather than a genuine comparison.

Both in the planning and in the finalizing of such collaborative ventures, the true task - to raise general questions which a systematic comparison of countries could help us answer - is apt to be treated in too cavalier a spirit.


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Rokkan has shown how much profit can be had from a crossing of disciplinary boundary lines. Such a crossing must be encouraged - most notably with history, economics and sociology - provided it does not lead to a new verbiage, and provided it remains anchored in an increased understanding of real political developments and conditions. Rokkan did more than anyone I know in promoting the infrastructure of international scholarship.

We have the proud legacy of the European Consortium to support us. Let us use it with the sense of imagination and commitment, the systematic effort coupled to an eclectic common sense, which were so characteristic of the man whom we so rightly honor by having an annual Rokkan-lecture. Of course, one should not make light of the qualities of scholarship which go into the study of single countries - whether one's own country or another. One has only to think of the magnificent quality of studies in Britain on France - from Dennis Brogan to Philip Williams and Vincent Wright - to realize how much our insight into the working of politics has been enriched, and is being enriched, by traditions such as these.

The effect of such a tradition is clearly present in a number of often highly readable journals, such as Parliamentary Affairs, Government and Opposition and West European Politics. Again, such categorical statements do not really do justice to great treatises on comparative constitutional law, Allgemeine Staatslehre , etc. Of course, the tradition of Manuels and Grundrisse has left traces as well in English language scholarship. I am thinking notably of the massive contributions of A. Finer, who published his Comparative Government in , which was the work of one author in contrast to the many multi-authored texts published in the United States , and which was to become a very successful Penguin, and posthumously in , the massive The History of Government from the Earliest Times.

An impressive survey of the older literature on comparative politics continues to be Harry Eckstein's introduction in Eckstein, H. New York : Free Press of Glencoe, pp. Butler, D. Wheare, K. De Jouvenel, R. Hermens, F.

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Kalteflleiter, W. Bagehot, W. Waldo, D. Epstein, L. Schumpeter, J. Fusilier, R. Dahl, R. Finer, S. Bogdanor, V. Almond, G. We used this expression often in the s in the Oppositions group see Dahl, R. I have been informed by Robert Dahl that the credit for this expression belongs to James Fesler.

The traumatic break in continuity of the political system in Germany has probably made for two notable features in German political science: a comparatively heavy accent on the role of institutions which were the chief elements of political reconstruction , and a strong emphasis on professionalism in a younger generation often trained partly in the USA. German scholarship has tended to be comparatively open to foreign influences.

At the same time, it could also fall back on strong autochthonous traditions of social science, of which Max Weber was only the most conspicuous. Sartori, G. For criticism see I. Finer London: Frances Pinter. Duverger, M.

Comparative European Politics

Daalder, H. Lehmbruch, G. Steiner, J. Lorwin, V. Lijphart, A. Lijphart , op. It also served H. Rae, D. Dittrich, K. Pedersen, M. Urwin, D. See also M. Bartolini, S. Taylor, M. Budge, I. There is an interesting contrast between the rather greater attention paid to country-specific material in newer works such as Browne, E.

Taylor, and Herman, V. Verba, S. Inglehart, R. Barnes, S. Flora, P. Schmidt M. Waxman, C. Inglehart , op. Cawson, A. Burin, F. New York: Columbia University Press.

Syllabus: Comparative European Politics – EuropeNow

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