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Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics

Edited by:

April 2009 | 344 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

"Bara and Pennington's edited volume successfully fills a huge void in the market for introductory textbooks to comparative politics which previously offered either descriptions of political processes and systems or overviews of the methodology of comparative analysis. By applying major political science theories to overviews of the core elements of political systems, the authors both enhance our understanding of these elements and provide readers an excellent introduction to comparative explanation."David Howarth, University of Edinburgh

This book provides a distinctive new introduction to the study of comparative politics at the undergraduate level. Rich in case study material and global in coverage, Comparative Politics sets out the basic theoretical and methodological foundations for studying different political systems as well as the key structures and actors of which they are comprised.

Part I explores the nature of comparative methodology and introduces students to the major theoretical paradigms that seek to explain the operation of institutions in democratic states and facilitate comparison across different political systems.

Part II examines the institutional structures of the modern state, outlining the key features such as the electoral systems and territorial and functional divisions of government across a range of modern states.

Part III analyzes the role of key actors, such as voters and parties, interest groups and social movements, the bureaucracy, and the judiciary.

Intended Audience: This book is an essential primer for students on first year courses in comparative government and politics as well as introductory courses in political science concepts and methods.

Judith Bara
Part 1: Theories and Methods
Mark Pennington
1. Theories, Institutions and Comparative Politics
Judith Bara
2. Methodologies for Comparative Politics
Part 2: Institutions
Brendan O'Duffy
3. The Nation State
Jocelyn A. J. Evans
4. Electoral Systems
Catherine Needham
5. Legislatures and Executives
Mark Pennington
6. The Bureaucracy
David Robertson
7. The Courts
Brendan O'Duffy
8. The Territorial Dimension
Part 3: Actors
Judith Bara
9. Voters, Parties and Participation
Mark Pennington
10. Interest Groups
David S. Bell
11. Leadership: The Long Road to Theory

This book seems better suited for an intro to political science course than a junior level course on comparative politics. Assuming that the students taking the junior level comparative politics course are already exposed to such an intro level pol sci course in their first/second year, this book remains too simplistic both in its approach to the subject and the examples it employs. While Patrick H. O'Neill and Ronald Rogowski's Essential Readings in Comparative Politics, (WW.Norton, 2004) has its own shortcomings, it provides a starting idea of how such a textbook could/should be.

Dr Gul Kurtoglu Eskisar
International Relations, Dokuz Eylul University
February 10, 2010

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