Introduction to Comparative Politics


How can we explain the variety of political regimes existing in the world ? Why are some countries democratic and others not ? What are the consequences of electoral systems ? Is there a regime ensuring political stability ? These are some of the questions that will be covered in this course. This course constitutes an introduction to the discipline of comparative politics for first year students. Students will discover the important authors of discipline, study various examples drawn from Western Europe in particular to understand the debates of comparative politics, and will be introduced with current issues showing the relevance of comparative politics to understand the contemporary political debates. The first part focuses on state formation, democratization, and typologies of political regimes. The second part deals with the organization of power in Western democracies (government, parliament, etc). The final part focuses on three in depth case studies illustrating the relevance of comparative politics to understand the United States, Italy, and Belgium.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

None (except for a good command of English).


  • Caramani, Daniele (2010). Comparative Politics, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Grossman, E. & N. Sauger (2007). Introduction aux systèmes politiques nationaux de l’UE, De Boeck. Mair, P., Gallagher, M., Laver, M. Representative government in modern Europe, 2011, Londres, McGraw Hill.
  • Lijphart, A. (1999), Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries, New Haven, Yale University Press.
  • Siaroff, Alan (2013). Comparing political regimes, Toronto, University of Toronto Press.

Educational formula

One hour and a half seminar each week, required readings when indicated.

In brief

Year First year

Teaching languageEnglish

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 1.0

Number of hours 18.0

Teaching activityLecture course

ValidationFinal written examination

Mandatory teaching



Forest Amandine [+]

Houdayer Corinne

Educational manager :
Bedock Camille [+]