Department of Political Science

Navigation + Search
Home / Course Information / Course Syllabi Spring 2005 / POSC 367/467 Spring 2005

POSC 367/467 Spring 2005

Spring 2005

Dr. Vincent McHale

POSC 367/467

Mather House #222

EUROPEAN POLITICAL SYSTEMS 

The purpose of this course is to explore the evolution and contemporary dynamics of political life in selected West European political systems.  The course will be organized around the themes of conflict and integration in modern society.  It will focus on the developmental experiences of various European societies; their uniformity and diversity; and the mass political consequences of economic growth and stagnation, demographic and social change, and the emergence of new political forces and issues.  Although theoretically-oriented in its approach, a substantial portion of the course will be devoted to a discussion of contemporary social, economic, and political trends in the European regional context.

The course assumes no previous student background in the subject matter; however, a certain familiarity with elementary political science concepts would be helpful.  Students having difficulty with the concepts discussed in class are advised to consult with Jack Plano et al., Dictionary of Political Analysis, or Carl Beck, Political Science Thesaurus II.  Background information on political parties can be found in V. McHale and S. Skowronski, Political Parties of Europe.  These sources are available in the reference section of the Kelvin Smith Library.  Also available in the library are two British publications — Keesing’s Archives (a compendium of events) and theFinancial Times (daily newspaper) — which are indispensable for day-to-day coverage of important political events in Europe.  Students are also encouraged to explore the Internet for current European materials and additional sources.

 

REQUIREMENTS:

There will be three brief memorandum-type research papers (5 to 7 pages) staggered throughout the course, a midterm, and a final examination.  Both examinations will be primarily essay in nature, drawing largely on the lectures but also including the reading and research materials.  If time permits, there may also be oral class presentations of one or more of the research assignments.  Details of each research assignment will be described in separate handouts.  Regular class attendance and participation in class discussion are expected. Attendance will be monitored. Since the lectures are largely independent of the reading, it will be most difficult for students to master the subject matter without regular class attendance. Students with more than three (3) unexcused absences will have their final course grade reduced by one letter grade.  The final course grade will be based on the following weighted distribution:

 

Class attendance and participation (10%)

Midterm examination (30%)

Research assignments (30% averaged separately)

Final examination (30%)

 

 

 

 

Important Notice

Academic dishonesty (plagiarism, cheating on examinations, etc.) is a serious offense that can result in loss of credit, suspension, and possibly expulsion from the university.  All suspected cases of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

 

OFFICE HOURS:

Students are encouraged to consult with the instructor regarding any problem they may be having in the course.  This can be done through regular office hours (Monday and Wednesday, 3:00 -3:50 p.m.) or by leaving telephone messages on x2425. Messages to the instructor can be sent via e-mail (user = “vem”). Appointments other than office hours must be confirmed with the instructor.

 

IMPORTANT DATES:

First class

January 13th

No Class (MLK, Jr. holiday)

January 17th

No Class (MLK, Jr. holiday)

January 17th

End of drop/add period

January 21st

Midterm Exam  

March 2th

Spring Break  

March 7-11th

Deadline for class withdrawal

March 25th

Last day of classes   

April 25th

Reading days

April 26th & 27th

Final Exam

May 2nd (8:30 to 11:30 a.m.)

 

 

 

             

TEXTS:

            Paul Heywood et al., Developments in West European Politics 2 (Palgrave, 2002).

Reference materials are listed under each topic and are preceded by an asterisk. Additional reading materials will be placed on reserve in Kelvin Smith Library at the reserve desk. Additional reading materials may also be assigned over the term of the class. A monthly calendar of lecture topics will be handed out in class.

 

CLASS LECTURE TOPICS

INTRODUCTION

1.         THE CONTEXT OF POLITICAL LIFE IN CONTEMPORARY EUROPE

 

            Europe as a cultural, economic, and political entity

            The aftermath of wars in the 20th century

            International cooperation and community-building

            Developmental change, social tensions, and mass politics

 

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Introduction, Chapter 4.

Reference:        *C. Tilly (ed.), The Formation of National States in Western Europe

 

2.         A FRAMEWORK FOR ANALYSIS:  CONCEPTS, PROCESSES, AND ISSUES

            The idea of a political system

            Basic geographic and demographic factors

            History and political culture

            Groups, parties, and electoral behavior

            Formal decision-making and implementation structures

            Political recruitment and the uses of political power

            Political futures under changing domestic and international conditions

 

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Chapter 1.

Reference:       

*R.H. Chilcote, Theories of Comparative Politic

*L.C. Mayer, Comparative Political Inquiry

*M. Dogan and D. Pelassy, How to Compare Nations

 

SELECTED POLITICAL SYSTEMS

A basic overview of the political cultures, political parties, and major governmental institutions for selected European polities. Readings for Sections 3 through 6 are as follows:

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Chapters 5, 6, and 7

 

3.         THE UNITED KINGDOM

4.         FRANCE

5.         GERMANY

6.         ITALY           

7.         THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (EC)

            The development of the European Community

            Political institutions and processes

            Community decision-making and bureaucratic politics

 

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Chapters 2, 3

Reference:       

*E.B. Haas, The Uniting of Europ

*N. Nugent, The Government and Politics of the European Community

*A.M. Sbragia (ed.), Euro-Politics:  Institutions in the New European Community

*D.W. Urwin, The Community of Europe:  A History of European Integration Since 1945                             

 

MAJOR POLITICAL ISSUES

8.         THE TERRITORIAL DIMENSION OF MASS POLITICS:  REGIONS AND

            REGIONALISM

            The relevance of political geography

            Regionalism and center-periphery conflicts

            Coping with regional inequalities in social welfare and political access

            Spatial patterning of mass politics

            The search for territorial optimality

            Regional development and the EC

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Chapter 11.

Reference:        *R. Rose, The Territorial Dimension in Government

 

9.         ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AND THE VIABILITY OF THE WELFARE STATE

 

            The historical roots of the welfare state

            The politics of welfare and unemployment

            Problems of the welfare state:  social policy and national resources

            Government-industry relations

 

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Chapter 2

Reference:       

*E.S. Einhorn, Welfare States in Hard Times

*N. Furniss (ed.), Futures for the Welfare Stat

*P. Flora and A.J. Heidenheimer (eds.), The Development of Welfare States in Europe and America

*OECD, The Welfare State in Crisis

 

10.       ENVIRONMENTALISM AND THE EMERGENCE OF “GREEN” PARTIES

 

            The emergence of political concern about the environment

            From movement to organized groups and parties

            The political impact:  success, accommodation, resistance

            The salience of environmental issues for mass politics

 

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Chapter 12

Reference:       

*G. Langguth, The Green Factor in German Politics

*F. Muller-Rommel (ed.), New Politics in Western Europe:  The Rise and Success of Green Parties and Alternative Lists

 

11.       RACE AND IMMIGRATION

            Pre-World War II immigration to Europe

            Post-World War II migration of labor and political refugees

            The foreign presence

            The de facto creation of multiracial states

            The rise of racism and racial discrimination

            Immigrant children:  citizens or exiles?

            Race, immigration, and foreign policy

            The effects of the Balkan conflict

 

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Chapter 14

Reference:       

*Z. Layton-Henry, The Politics of Race in Britain

*G. Freeman, Immigrant Labor and Racial Conflict in Industrial Societies

 

12.       FEMINISM AND WEST EUROPEAN POLITICS

 

            The status of women in postwar Europe:  demographics and economic marginalization

            Variations in European feminist thought:  liberal, socialist, radical

            The rise of the Women’s Liberation Movement and women’s parties

            The impact of feminism on government and public policy

 

Reference:  

*D. Dahlerup (ed.), The New Women’s Movement: Feminism and

*Political Power in Europe and the USA

*J. Lovenduski, Women and European Politics

*V. Randall, Women and Politics 

 

13.       ELECTORAL CHANGE AND ELECTORAL REFORM

            Socioeconomic change and the structuring of European politics

            Conflict versus consensus:  end of ideology, deradicalization, managerial politics?

            The consequences of electoral systems on political recruitment and public policy

            Electoral reform as an emergent issue

           

Reference:  

*R. Dalton et al. (eds.), Electoral Change in Advanced Industrial Societies

*A. Siaroff, Comparative European Party Systems

 

14.       THE CONSOLIDATION OF DEMOCRACY IN THE EUROPEAN PERIPHERY

MEDITERRANEAN EUROPE:  GREECE, SPAIN, PORTUGAL

            Authoritarian rule, historical legacies, political culture

            Transition to democracy in the 1970s

            Persisting issues

 

Reference:       

*A. Williams (ed.), Southern Europe Transformed

*T.C. Bruneau, Politics and Nationhood:  Post-Revolutionary Portugal

*K. Featherstone and I.K. Katsoudas, Political Change in Greece

 *P. Preston, The Triumph of Democracy in Spain

 

15.       EAST CENTRAL EUROPE:  POLAND AND ROMANIA AS CASE STUDIES

 

            Communist rule, historical legacies, and political culture

            Transition to democracy in the later 1980s

            Reintegrating the former communist states into the European community

            Persisting issues

 

Reading:

V. McHale, “Democratic Transition and the Evolution of Mass Politics in Post-Communist Central and Eastern Europe” (on reserve)

Reference:       

*L.H. Legters, Eastern Europe: Transformation and Revolution 1945-1991

 

16.       LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE:  MORE TRENDS AND PROSPECTS

            The individual in modern society:  individual identity and individual freedoms

The growth of complexity and interdependence:  technocracy , politics, and the

     information society

            Changes in the scope of government activity:  beyond the welfare state — what?

            National variations of a type of society or different societies?

            The rise of political extremism and global criminal and terrorist networks

            The problem of governance:  the search for political order

 

Reading:           Heywood, et al., Chapters 8, 9, 10, and 13

Reference:       

*R.J. Harrison, Pluralism and Corporatism:  The Political Evolution of Modern Democracies

*R. Inglehart, Culture Shift in Advanced Democracies

*C. Kerr, The Future of Industrial Societies

 

17.       EMERGENT DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE

Page last modified: February 9, 2015