Professor Danny Unger                                                                      Political Science 560

Office: 103 Zulauf                                                                             Fall 2006

Office Hours: W 1:30-3:00, Th 5-5:30                                               Tuesdays, 6:30-9:10

753-7042,                                                                DuSable 464




Comparative Political Analysis



This course provides a highly selective survey of the comparative politics literature.  It is designed to familiarize students with the main theoretical debates in the field today and their roots in the field’s development over the past century.  It also aims to prepare students for more advanced research, as well as the candidacy examination (for doctoral students.)


Students may want to become familiar with the department’s webpage which has curricular information, course syllabi, as well as useful information about possible careers and other matters.


NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that mandates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities.  If you have a disability, contact me early in the semester so that I can help to address your needs.  You will to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on campus on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (753-1303.)


Required texts


Lichbach, Mark Irving and Alan S. Zuckerman, Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure (Cambridge University Press, 1997)

B. Guy Peters, Comparative Politics: Theory and Methods (New York University Press, 1998)

Joel S. Migdal, State in Society (Cambridge University Press, 2001)

Lana Crothers and Charles Lockhart, eds. Culture and Politics, A Reader (St. Martin’s, 2000)


The bulk of readings for the course will be available from the library’s e-reserves.  You will need to order the above texts yourself or find some other means of getting access to those readings.



-Contributions to class discussions (30%)

-Assigned presentations in class (20%)                      

(one presentation of a reading; one using readings to interpret or explain specific, contemporary political developments)

-Hard copy of take home final exam due in Political Science Department by 4 p.m. Monday, December 11th (50%)


Presentations of readings should very briefly review and assess the author(s)’s arguments, the appropriateness of the analytical approaches employed, and should place the readings in their theoretical context.



Schedule of meetings and readings



August 29, Overview of the field and the course



September 5, The behavioral revolution


-Huntington, Samuel P. " The Change to Change: Modernization, Development, and Politics," Comparative Politics. April 1971: 283-322.

-Lichbach and Zuckerman, “Social Theory and Comparative Politics,” in Lichbach and Zuckerman, eds. Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure, pp.3-8

-Karl W. Deutsch, “Social Mobilization and Political Development,” in Harry Eckstein and David Apter, eds. Comparative Politics, A Reader (The Free Press, 1963) pp.582-603

-Roy Macridis, “A Survey of the Field of Comparative Politics,” in Harry Eckstein and David Apter, eds. Comparative Politics, A Reader (The Free Press, 1963) pp.43-52

Recommended readings:

-David Easton, “An Approach to the Analysis of Political Systems,” World Politics, 9:3, April 1957

-Benjamin Neuberger, “State and Nation in African Perceptions of Nation-Building,” Asian and African Studies 11, 1976, pp.241-61

-Dankwart Rustow, “New Horizons for Comparative Politics,” in Harry Eckstein and David Apter, eds. Comparative Politics, A Reader (The Free Press, 1963) pp.57-66



September 12, Development of the field


-Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies, pp.1-11,24-32,53-59,72-78

-Barbara Geddes, "Paradigms and Sand Castles in the Comparative Politics of Developing Areas," Political Science: Looking to the Future, Volume Two: Comparative Politics, Policy, and International Relations, in William Crotty, ed. (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1991) pp. 45-75

-Remmer, Karen. "Theory Decay and Development, Institutional Analysis," World Politics, 50, October 1997.



September 19, Comparative Methods


-B. Guy Peters, Comparative Politics, pp. ix-x, 1-108, 212-26

-Arend Lijphart, “Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method,” American Political Science Review, Vol.75, September 1971, pp.682-93

September 26, Structuring Political Systems (to be rescheduled)


-Theda Skocpol, “France, Russia, China: A Structural Analysis of Social Revolutions,” in Jack A. Goldstone, ed. Revolutions, Theory, Comparative and Historical Studies (Harcourt Brace, 1994) pp.68-88

-Liah Greenfeld, Nationalism, Five Roads to Modernity (Harvard University Press,  ) pp.17-21

-PS. Barrington Moore, Jr., The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.  Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Beacon Press, 1966) pp.413-32

-Richard F. Doner, Bryan K. Ritchie, and Dan Slater, “Systemic Variation and the Origins of Developmental States,” International Organization, 59:2, Spring 2005, pp.327-62

-Peter Flora et al. eds. State Formation, Nation-Building and Mass Politics in Europe: the Theory of Stein Rokkan (Oxford University Press, 1999) pp.228-273

Recommended readings:

-Ira Katznelson, "Structure and Configuration in Comparative Politics," Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure. Lichbach and Zuckerman, eds.: 81-112.


October 3rd, Rationality in Politics


-Levi, Margaret. "A Model, a Method, and a Map: Rational Choice in Comparative and Historical Analysis," Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure. Lichbach and Zuckerman, eds.: 19-41.

-James G. March and Johan P. Olsen, Democratic Governance. The Free Press, 1995) pp.7-47

-Anthony Downs, An Economic Theory of Democracy. Harper and Brothers, 1957, pp.96-113

-Barry Weingast, “The Political Foundations of Democracy and the Rule of Law,” American Political Science Review 91, 1997, pp.245-63

Recommended readings:

-William H. Riker and Peter C. Ordeshook, An Introduction to Positive Political Theory.  Harcourt Brace, 1994.  pp.8-37, 45-77



October 10, Political Culture (I)


-Ronald Inglehart, “Trust, well-being and democracy,” in Mark Warren, ed. Democracy and Trust (Cambridge University Press, 1999) pp.88-120

-Marc Howard Ross, “Culture and Identity in Comparative Political Analysis,” in Lichbach and Zuckerman, pp.42-80

Recommended readings:

-Lawrence Scaff, “Fleeing the Iron Cage: Politics and Culture in the Thought of Max Weber,” American Political Science Review, vol.81, September 1987, pp.737-57



October 17, Political Culture (II)

-Lana Crothers and Charles Lockhart, eds. Culture and Politics, A Reader (St. Martin’s, 2000)




October 24, The New Institutionalism


-Immergut, Ellen M. "The Theoretical Core of the New Institutionalism," Politics and Society. 26:1, March 1988: 5-34.

-Sven Steinmo, Taxation and Democracy (Yale University Press, 1993) pp.1-21

-Stephan Haggard and Mathew D. McCubbins, “Introduction: Political Institutions and the Determinants of Public Policy,” in Haggard and McCubbins, eds. Presidents, Parliaments, and Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2001) pp.1-13

-Douglas North and Barry Weingast, “Constitutions and Commitment,” in Alston et al. eds. Empirical Studies in Institutional Change (Cambridge University Press, 1996) pp.134-65

Recommended readings:

-Andrew MacIntyre, “Institutions and investors: the Politics of the Asian Economic Crisis in Southeast Asia,” International Organization 55:1, 2002, pp.81-122



October 31, Political Economy


-Mancur Olson, The Rise and Decline of Nations, pp.17-35

-Gerschenkron, Alexander. " Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective," Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective. Gerschenkron ed., 1962, pp.5-30

-Kanishka Jayasuriya, “Authoritarian liberalism, governance and the emergence of the regulatory state in post-crisis East Asia,” in R. Robison et al. eds. Politics and Markets in the Wake of the Asian Crisis (Routledge, 2000) pp.315-30

-Jason Abbott, Developmentalism and Dependency in Southeast Asia (Routledge, 2003) pp.10-34

-Robert Bates, Prosperity and Violence, The Political Economy of Development (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2001), pp.50-83

Recommended readings:

-Shafer, D. Michael. Winners and Losers, How Sectors Shape the Developmental Prospects of States. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994: 6-15.

-Packenham, Robert A. The Dependency Movement: Scholarship and Politics in Development Studies. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992: 82-109.



November 7, Democracy


-Philippe Schmitter and Terry Lynn Karl, “What Democracy Is…And Is Not,” Journal of Democracy, 1991

-Mainwaring, Scott. "Party Systems in the Third Wave," Journal of Democracy. July 1998: 67-81.

-Philippe Schmitter, “Parties are Not What they Once Were,” in Larry Diamond and Richard Gunther, eds. Political Parties and Democracy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001) pp.67-89

-Fareed Zakaria, “The Rise of Illiberal Democracy,” Foreign Affairs, November 1997, pp.22-43

-Samuel Huntington, The Third Wave, chapter one

-Michael McFaul, “The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship,” World Politics, 54:2, January 2002

-Ingrid Van Biezen, “On the theory and practice of party formation and adaptation in new democracies,” European Journal of Political Research 44, 2005, pp.147-74

-Guillermo O’Donnell, “Delegative Democracy,” Journal of Democracy, 1994, 5:1,pp.55-69



November 14, The State and State-Society Relations (I)


-Chalmers Johnson, MITI and the Japanese Economic Miracle (Stanford University Press, 1978) pp.

-Peter Evans, Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation. Princeton, 1995. Chapter One

-Midgal, Joel S. "Studying the State," Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure. Lichbach and Zuckerman, eds.: 208-235.

-Stepan, Alfred. "State Power and the Strength of Civil Society in the Southern Cone of Latin America," in Peter Evans and Theda Skocpol, eds. Bringing the State Back In, pp.317-343

-Michael Walzer, “Intellectuals, Social Classes, and Revolutions,” in Skocpol, ed., Democracy, Revolution, pp.127-42


November 21, The State and State-Society Relations (II)


-Joel S. Migdal, State in Society (Cambridge University Press, 2001) pp.



November 28, Political Participation


-Joan Nelson, “Political Participation,” in Myron Weiner and Samuel P. Huntington, eds. Understanding Political Development (Little, Brown and Co., 1987) pp.103-49

-Myron Weiner, “Political Participation: Crisis of the Political Process,” in Leonard Binder et al. Crises and Sequences in Political Development (Princeton University Press, 1971) pp.159-74

-S.M. Lipset and Stein Rokkan, “Class Structures, Party Systems, and Voter Alignments: An Introduction,” in Lipset and Rokkan, eds. Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives. The Free Press, 1967, pp.1-33



December 5, Isolated islands of research, or a synthesis?


-Lichbach, Mark I. "Social Theory and Comparative Politics," Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure. Lichbach and Zuckerman: 239-276.