POLITICAL SCIENCE 427
Winter Quarter 1998
Tuesday, Thursday 10:50-1:05
523 General Classroom Building
Dr. William M. Downs Office Hours: M, W 2:00-3:30
Department of Political Science 1013 General Classroom Building
Georgia State University Tel: 651-4841
The principal aim of this upper-level undergraduate course is to achieve
an advanced understanding of major substantive and theoretical issues in
contemporary European political systems. A comparative methodological approach
will encourage critical thinking about key trends and controversies, and
it will enable students to assess the performance of individual political
systems in relation to broader patterns in both Europe and--by extension--the
United States. Among the topics covered by lectures and readings will be
the following: political culture and value change, party systems and party
government, electoral behavior, political control over national economic
policy making, effects of unemployment and inflation on government stability,
territorial decentralization, right-wing extremism, public policy, and
integration. We will ask such questions as: How stable is the existing
democratic order? How serious are threats to this order, such as recent
internal conflicts, persistent socioeconomic inequalities, and violence
with racist underpinnings? How did Europe react to genocidal violence on
its eastern doorstep--and with what implications for the future? How, if
at all, have traditional political party systems adapted and evolved in
response to changing electorates? What is the best model for balancing
the demands of economic performance and social services? Is European monetary
union desirable/possible? How does European integration impact the United
TEXTS AND COURSE MATERIALS
The following texts are available for purchase at the Park Place Bookstore
and the University Bookstore:
Michael Curtis, ed. 1996. Western European Government and Politics. New York: Longman.
Stephen George. 1996. Politics and Policy in the European Union, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Russell Dalton, 1996. Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, 2nd edition. Chatham, NJ: Chatham House.
Additionally, you should purchase a small course packet from the University Bookstore.
Note: Where possible, readings have been placed on reserve at
Library South for your use.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING SYSTEM
Students will be evaluated along four dimensions. Approximately two-thirds
(65%) of your grade will be determined by a midterm exam and a comprehensive
final exam. The remaining 35% will be determined by regular and active
class participation and scores on two written assignments.
Attendance. This is a lecture-discussion course. Students are thus expected to attend all class sessions and will sign an attendance sheet at each class. Students who miss more than two classes will lose 2% of the final course grade for each additional class missed, up to a total of 10%. Absences for medical reasons or for attending an official university sponsored inter-collegiate event (but not a practice) will be excused only when accompanied by a written note from the attending physician (one week following absence) or team coach (one week prior to event).
Class Participation. Students must complete the assigned readings on time, and actively participate in class discussions. To stay abreast of developments in European politics, students should follow current events through the reading of a major national newspaper, such as the New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, or the Wall Street Journal. Regular reading of news magazines such as The Economist, Time, Newsweek, or US News and World Report is also recommended. All these papers are available for free on the World Wide Web. Current events will be discussed throughout the course and may also be part of the exams.
Examinations. Two in-class examinations, consisting of a midterm exam and comprehensive final, will constitute 65% of each student's grade. The exams will consist of a mix of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions. I also reserve the right to schedule unannounced quizzes on the readings if deemed necessary. No make-ups will be given for missed quizzes. Both material discussed in class and material covered in required readings will appear on the exams.
Written Assignments. At the beginning of the quarter, students will select two European countries that will subsequently be the focus of two take-home written assignments worth 25% of your grade. The assignments will be distributed at least one week in advance of their due date. These assignments (approximately 4-5 double-spaced, type-written pages plus bibliography) will require each student to use traditional research methods, such as library research, and newly emerging research tools, such as the World Wide Web.
Paper 1 10%
Paper 2 15%
Mid-term Exam 30%
Comprehensive Final Exam 35%
FYI: You should periodically check my web page http://www.gsu.edu/~polwmd/page.html
for assignment updates, useful resources, and class materials.
Topic 1 Introduction to European Politics & Political Economy
January 6 Introduction to Course
Introductory comments and discussion of course format. Framing of central issues and questions.
January 8 The Nature of European Politics
Topic 2 Parliamentary Government: the British model
January 13 Historical Context of Contemporary Politics/ Processes and Institutions
January 15 The Road to Tony Blair and "New Labour"
Topic 3 Mixed Parliamentary-Presidential Systems: The French Model
January 20 Constitutional Engineering and the Durability of the Fifth Republic
January 22 Evaluating System Performance
Topic 4 Federal Political Systems: The German Model
January 27 From Occupation to Reunification: Political Development
January 29 Coping with the Problems of Unity
February 3 Midterm
Topic 5 CITIZEN POLITICS
February 5 Politics and the Public in Europe and America
February 10 Measuring Value Change
February 12 Electoral Behavior
Topic 6 Consociationalism In Europe
February 17 The Dutch Case
Topic 7 Democratization in Europe
February 19 The Spanish Road to Reform
February 24 The Italian Road to Reform
Topic 8 Political Economy of the Welfare State
February 26 Politics of Privatization
Topic 9 European Integration
March 3 Origins and Institutions of the European Union
Curtis, Chapter 8 (pp. 394-418)
March 5 The Politics of Monetary Union
March 10 Eastward Expansion
Supplemental (i.e., optional but recommended):
March 17 Final Exam 11:30
Suggested (Supplemental) Readings:
Anderson, Perry. 1974. Lineages of the Absolutist State. London & New York: Verso.
Betz, Hans-Georg. 1994. Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Cossolotto, Matthew. 1995. The Almanac of European Politics 1995. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.
Dalton, Russell J., and Manfred Kuechler. 1990. Challenging the Political Order: New Social and Political Movements in Western Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Downs, William M. 1998. Coalition Politics, Subnational Style. Multiparty Politics in Europe's Regional Parliaments. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
Keohane, Robert O., and Stanley Hoffmann, eds. 1991. The New European Community: Decisionmaking and Institutional Change. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
Kesselman, Mark, et al. 1997. European Politics in Transition. 3rd ed. Lexington, MA and Toronto: D.C Heath.
Lewis-Beck, Michael S. 1990. Economics and Elections: The Major Western Democracies. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Meny, Yves, with Andrew Knapp. 1993. Governments and Politics in Western Europe: Britain, France, Italy, Germany. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rasmussen, Jorgen S., and Joel C. Moses. 1995. Major European Governments. 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.
Steiner, Jürg. 1998. European Democracies. Fourth Edition. White Plains, NY: Longman.
American Political Science Review
British Journal of Political Science
Comparative Political Studies
European Journal of Political Research
Government and Opposition
International Political Science Review
Journal of Common Market Studies
Journal of Comparative Economics
Journal of European Social Policy
Journal of Legislative Studies
Journal of Politics
Revue française de science politique
Rivista de Estudios Politicos
Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica
Scandinavian Political Studies
Studies in Comparative Communism
West European Politics
Note: This course syllabus provides a general plan for the course;
deviations may be necessary.
Note: Students are responsible for the information contained in the Academic Honesty policy found in On Campus.