Nenad Dimitrijevic
Term: Winter 1994.
Department of Political Science, Budapest

Course Summary

The aim of this course is to offer an introductory analysis of contemporary democracies. Comparative Democratic Governments will be concerned with values, processes, institutions and behavior present in more than one democratic political system. It will search for those patterns, similarities and differences among democratic states that help clarify their basic nature and functioning. Through comparative empirical analysis of different political processes and institutions, and through their theoretical explanations, we will try to show that modern democracy is neither exclusively Western, nor predominantly academic concept: East-Central European countries need democracy as an indispensable condition for the peaceful stabilization and development of their societies after decades of communism.


Part one: Studying Comparative Government

1. Basic Concepts (Democratic Process; Politics, Power and Government; Political System)
Required readings:
a) R.Dahl, Democracy and its Critics, New Heaven, 1987, p. 106-119.
b) S.Finer, Comparative Government, Harmondsworth, 1978, p.3-27.
c) D.Easton, The Analysis of Political Systems, in: C.Marcridis/B.Brown (eds), Comparative Politics, Homewood, 1968, p.86-96.
Recommended readings:
D.Easton, Political System, New York, 1963.

2. Comparative Government: Scopes, Objectives, Methods (Delimitation from Related Fields of Political Science and Other Social Sciences; Aim of Study; Basic Methodological Approaches)
Required Readings:
a) C.Rodee/T.Anderson/C.Q.Christol, Introduction to Political Science, New York, 1957, p.l0-17.
b) J.Blondel, Comparative Government, Hemel Hempstead, 1990, p.3-10. (Copy in CEUL)
c) R.Hague/M.Harrop/S.Breslin, Comparative Government and Politics, London, 1993, p.23-40. (Copy in CEUL)
Recommended Readings:
a) F.Neumann, "Approaches to the Study of Political Power", Political Science Quarterly 2/1950, p.161-180.
b) G.Almond, "Comparative Political Systems", in Journal of Politics Vol.XVIII.(1956), pp.391-409.

3. Social Context of Democratic Governments Political Culture (Are There "Social Prerequisites"" for Democracy; Tradition and Modernity; Homogeneity and Heterogeneity: Case of "Divided"- Societies"; Issue of Consensus)
Required Readings:
a) G.Almond/S.Verba, The Civic Culture, Newbury Park, 1989, pp.l-35. (Copy in CEUL)
b)J.Blondel, Comparative Government, p.67-79.
Recommended Readings:
a) G.Almond/S.Verba (eds.), The Civic Culture Revisited, Newbury Park, 1989 (Copy in CEUL)
b)S.M.Lipset, "Some Social Requisites of Democracy", American Political Science Review, 1/1959.

4. Legal Context of Democratic Government: Constitutional Democracy
(Constitution and Constitutionalism; Main Constitutional Principles; Limits of
Constitutional Rule)
Required Readings:
a) F.A.Hayek, The Constitution of Liberty, London, 19 p.l76-193. (Copy in CEUL)
b) J.Blondel Comparative Government, p. 209-221.
Recommended readings:
a) C.J.Friedrich, Limited Government: A Comparison, Englewood Cliffs, 1974.
b) J.Elster (ed.), Constitutionalism and Democracy, Cambridge, 1989. (Copy in CEUL)

Part two: Political Dynamics

5. Public Opinion (Notion and Functions of Public Opinion; Communication Processes and Techniques; Impact of Public Communication on Political Power and on Citizens)
Required Readings:
a) E.J.Meehan/J.P.Roche JM.Stedman, The Dynamics of Modern Government, New York, 1966, p.87-117.
Recommended Readings:
J.Blondel, Comparative Government

6. Political Parties and Interest Groups in Political Process (Origins, Notion and Goals of Political Parties; Interest Groups: Notion, Different Types and Channels of Access)
Required Readings:
a) M.Curtis, Comparative Government and Politics, New York, 1978, p.141-173
b) R.Hague/M.Harrop/S.Breslin, Comparative Government and Politics, p.209222.
Recommended Readings:
a) V.O.Key, Parties, Politics and Pressure Groups, New York, 1951.
b) G.Sarton, Parties and Party Systems, Oxford, 1976. (Copy in CEUL)

7. Party Systems. Electoral Systems and Their Impact on Political System (Two-Party- and Multi-Party Systems: Characteristics and Consequences of Competition among Parties; Notion of elections and Main Types of Electoral Systems; Party Systems and Electoral Systems: Their interconnections and their
Impact on Stability of Political Systems)
Required Readings:
a) M. Curtis, Comparative Government and Politics, p 175- 186.
b) J.Blondel, Comparative Government, p 176-188.
c) M. Duverger, "Electoral Systems and Political Life", in: C. Marcridis/B.Brown (eds.), Comparative Politics, p . 319-330.
Further Readings:
T. Gallagher/M.Laver/P.Mair, Representative Government in Western Europe New York, 1992.

Part three: Governmental Structures

8. Representation and Parliament (Concept of Representation; Parliaments: Powers and Structures; Legislative Process; Formal Powers and Effective Role of parliament)
Required readings:
a) M.Curtis, Comparative Government and Politics, p.111-120; 94-223.
Recommended readings:
J.S.Mill, Considerations on Representative Government , New York, 1991. (Copy in CEUL)

9. Executive Power (Notion, Types and Functions of Political Executive; Political Leadership: Prime Prime Minister and Head of State; Formal Powers and Effective Role of Executive Power)
Required Readings:
a) J.Mcynaud, "The Executive in the Modern State" in: R.Marcndis/B.Brown (eds.), Comparative Politics, p 431-447
b) M.Curtis, Comparative Government and Politics, p.225-246.
Recommended Readings:
O.K.Flechtheim, Fundamentals of Political Science, New York, l952.

10. Parliamentary vs. Presidential Government ((Main Characteristics and Differences Between Two Forms of Government; Models and Their Consequences: Stability vs. Democracy)
Required readings:
a) A.J.Lijphart, "Introduction", in: A.J.Lijphart (ed.) Parliamentary vs. Presidential Government, Oxford, 1992, p. 11-27. (Copy in CEUL)
b) D.V.Verney, "Parliamentary Government and Presidential Government", in: A.J.Lijphart, Parliamentary vs. Presidential Government, p.31-48.
Recommended Readings:
R.Hague/M.Harrop/S.Breslin, Comparative Government and Politics.

11. Territorial Organization of the State (Territorial Centralization and Decentralization; Unitary State, Federal State and Democracy; Notion and Origins of Federalism; Types of Federations; Regionalism as Mode of Decentralization; Local Government and its Relations with Central Government)

Required readings:
a) R.Hague/M.Harrop/S.Breslin, Comparative Government and Politics, .p. 268279.
b) J.Blondel, Comparative Government, p.223-236.
Recommended readings:
D.J.Elazar (ed.), Federal Systems of the World, Jerusalem, 1991.

12. Liberal-Democratic Decision-Making Model and its Alternatives (Majority
Rule and its Limits; Alternative Models: Consociational Democracy, Supermajorities, Limited Democracy; Decision-Making Outside Parliament: Corporatism)
Required readings:
a) R.A.Dahl, Democracy and its Critics, p 128-162.
b) J.Steiner, European Democracies, New York, 1986, p.219-230.
Recommended readings:
a) A.J.Lijphart, Democracies Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in Twenty-One Countries, New Haven, 1984. (Copy in CEUL)
b) W H.Riker, Liberalism Against Populism, San Francisco, 1982. (Copy in CEUL)

13. Democratic Government: Challenges and Prospects for Future (Democratic Politics in Mass Society; "Ungovernability" or Legitimation Crisis; Political Performance of Democratic Governments: Citizen-Participation, Stability, Efficiency)
Required readings:
a) J.Gusfield, "Mass Society and Extremist Politics", in: R.Marcridis/B.Brown, Comparative Politics, p. 651-660.
b) R.Dahredorf, "Effectiveness and Legitimacy : On the 'Governability' of Democracies", Political Quarterly, 393-1980, p .393- 411.
c) G.Powell, Contemporary Democracies, Cambridge (Massachusetts), 1982, p.218228. (Copy in CEUL)
Recommended readings:
D.Held, Models of Democracy, Cambridge, 1987. (Copy in CEUL)

Active participation at each weekly seminar is expected of every student in the course. A mid-term essay and a final essay are required. Grading will depend on these three factors in the following way:
Participation at the seminars: 25%
Mid-term essay: 35%
Final essay: 40%

Digitized version prepared by Curriculum Resource Center (CRC)
CEU Budapest, Hungary
Revised: April 1996


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