Professor Danny Unger                                                                                    Political Science 660

Office: 105 Zulauf                                                                                                             Fall 2008

Office Hours: T, Th 2-3:30                                                                                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 past decades.  It also aims to prepare students for more advanced research, as well as the candidacy examination (for doctoral students.)  Students taking the candidacy exams are responsible for the “Supplementary” as well as the “Required” readings.


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 need 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


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

-Geraldo L. Munck and Richard Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method in Comparative Politics (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007)


Students may also want to obtain the following text:

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


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)

-In class final exam (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

Required reading:

-Richard Snyder, “The Human Dimension of Comparative Research” and Gerardo L. Munck, “The Past and Present of Comparative Politics,” in Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method, pp.1-59

-Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method (Gabriel A. Almond) pp.63-85

-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

-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

Suggested readings:

-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

-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

Supplementary readings:

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


September 12, Development of the field

Required reading:

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

-Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method (Samuel P. Huntington) pp.210-233

-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

Required reading:

-B. Guy Peters, Comparative Politics, pp.1-79, 212-26

-Alexander George, “Case Studies and Theory Development: The Method of Structured, Focused Comparisons,” in P.G. Lauren, ed. Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory and Policy (New York, 1979)

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

-Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method (Juan J. Linz, David Collier) pp.150-209, 556-600

-Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (MIT Press, 2005), pp.3-35


September 26, Structuring Political Systems  

Required reading:

-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

-Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method (Barrington Moore, Jr., Theda Skocpol) pp.86-112, 649-707

-John T. Sidel, “Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy Revisited,” Comparative Politics, 40:2, January 2008, pp.127-47

-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

Supplementary readings:

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

-Walter Korpi, “Power Resources and Employer-Centered Approaches in Explanations of Welfare States and Varieties of Capitalism,” World Politics, 58, January 2006, pp.167-206

-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

-Martin van Creveld, The Rise and Decline of the State (Cambridge University Press, 1999) pp.189-262


October 3rd, Rationality in Politics

Required reading:

-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.

-Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method (Robert Bates, Adam Przeworski) pp.504-555, 456-503

-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

Suggested readings:

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

Supplementary readings:

-Carles Boix, Democracy and Redistribution (Cambridge University Press, 2003) 1-17, 171-203


October 10, Political Culture

-Ronald Inglehart and Christian Welzel, “Political Culture and Democracy,”  Comparative Politics, 36:1, October 2003, pp.61-79

-Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method (James C. Scott, David Laitin) pp.351-391, 601-48

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

Suggested readings:

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

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

-Stanley J. Tambiah, Leveling Crowds, Ethnonationalist Conflicts and Collective Violence in South Asia (University of California Press, 1996)

-Ronald Inglehart, Modernization, Cultural Change and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence (Cambridge University Press) pp.15-77

Supplementary 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, The New Institutionalism

Required readings:

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

-Sven Steinmo, “Political Institutions and Tax Policy in the United States, Sweden, and Britain,” World Politics, July 1989, 61:4, pp.500-535

-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 24, Political Economy

Required readings:

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

-Carles Boix, Political Parties, Growth and Equality (Cambridge University Press, 1998) pp.1-13, 16-50

-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

-Peter A. Hall and David Soskice, “An Introduction to Varieties of Capitalism,” pp.1-68


Suggested 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.

-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

-Walter Korpi, “Power Resources and Employer-Centered Approaches in Explanations of Welfare States and Varieties of Capitalism,” World Politics, 58 (January 2006) pp.167-206

-Torben Iversen, Capitalism, Democracy, and Welfare (Cambridge University Press, 2005)


October 31, Democracy

Required readings:

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

-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

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

-Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method (Robert A. Dahl, Guillermo O’Donnell, Philippe Schmitter, Alfred Stepan) pp.113-149, 273-304, 305-350, 392-455


November 7, Democracy and Political Institutions

Required readings:

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

-Herbert Kitschelt and Steven I. Wilkinson, “Citizen-politician linkages: an introduction,” in Kitschelt and Wilkinson, eds. Patrons, Clients, and Policies (Cambridge University Press, 2007) pp.1-46

-Gretchen Helmke and Steven Levitsky, “Introduction,” in Helmke and Levitsky, eds. Informal Institutions and Democracy, Lessons from Latin America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) pp.1-25

-Luis Roniger, “Political Clientelism, Democracy, and Market Economy,” Comparative Politics, 36:3, April 2004, pp.353-375

-Marcus Kreuzer and Vello Pettai, “Political Parties and the Study of Political Development,” World Politics, 56, July 2004, pp.608-33

-Susan C. Stokes, “Do Informal Rules Make Democracy Work?” in Gretchen Helmke and Steven Levitsky, eds. Informal Institutions and Democracy, Lessons from Latin America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) pp.125-39

-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

-M. Steven Fish, “Stronger Legislatures, Stronger Democracies,” Journal of Democracy, 17 (January 2006) pp.5-20

Suggested readings:

-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

-Andreas Schedler, Larry Diamond, and Marc F. Plattner, eds. The Self-Restraining State: Power and Accountability in New Democracies (Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1999)


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

Required readings:

-Munck and Snyder, Passion, Craft, and Method (Arend Lijphart) pp.234-272

-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

-Susan C. Stokes, Culture in Conflict, Social Movements and the State in Peru (University of California Press, 1995) pp.5-12, 16-31

Suggested readings:

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

-Kurt Schock, Unarmed Insurrections (University of Minnesota Press, 2005)


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

Required readings:

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

-Omar G. Encarnacion, “Civil Society Reconsidered,” Comparative Politics, 38:3, April 2006, pp.357-75

-Kenneth M. Roberts, “Populism, Political Conflict, and Grass-Roots Organization in Latin America,” Comparative Politics, 38:2, January 2006, pp.127-47

Suggested readings:

-Ashutosh Varshney, Democracy, Development, and the Countryside (Cambridge University Press, 1998)

-Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (University of California Press, 1985)


November 28, Political Participation

Required readings:

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

-Henry Milner, Civic Literacy (Tufts University, 2002) pp. 13-31, 38-49

-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

Suggested Readings:

-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

-Susan J. Pharr and Robert D. Putnam, eds. Disaffected Democracies (Princeton University Press, 2000)


December 5, A substantive or methodological synthesis?

Required reading:

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


December 9, 6-7:50, final exam