POL S 544
Selected problems in the comparative analysis of political institutions, organizations, and systems.
This course deals with Germany, France and the UK in the New Europe - or, more precisely put, the interaction of politics in these three countries with decision-making at the level of the European Union.
Our discussions in this class will be driven by three main questions: First, the three countries are Europe’s central economic and political powers and expected to provide joint political leadership in an increasingly diverse and politically contested EU that currently faces a set of tough political challenges. But how do the perspectives of political elites in the three countries differ with regard to the future of the European Union? What are the main interests defended by the three countries, and what conflicts can be seen to emerge in debates between them? Secondly, membership in the EU has an increasing impact on domestic politics in Germany, France and the UK, including challenges to the coordination of interests within the executive, the role of sub-national and local levels of government, the involvement of parliaments and many aspects of everyday policy-making. How do the political systems of the three countries adapt to European decision-making, and do the three systems differ with regard to their adaptability to the requirements of European integration? Finally, the course also looks at the development of public debate on the EU and the striking differences between the perspectives of political parties and the public on the EU in the three countries. In how far do citizens in the three countries support the process of European integration? What are sources of Euroscepticism that is so far mostly observable in the United Kingdom and to a more limited extent in France? Is the traditional pro-European consensus in Germany eroding and making way for a more disillusioned, sceptical stance of the German public towards the EU?
In the course, we will study these questions in detail, focusing on the diverse perspectives on the process of European integration in France, Germany and the UK and drawing comparative conclusions about the challenges, problems and effects of political Europeanization in these countries.
Student learning goals
In-depth knowledge of current political debates about the involvement of three major EU Member States (Germany, France and the UK) in the European Union
Knowledge of analytical approaches and theses discussed in the research debate about the Europeanization of political systems
Comparative analysis of institutional adaptation, policy-making and the evolution of party politics and citizen attitudes in the context of European integration
Problem-oriented elaboration of own research question and drafting of a term paper elaborating a small research project dealing with this question
General method of instruction
- Lectures, including Q & A and discussion - In-class presentation, covering current political debates and selected aspects of the readings assigned for the class - Group work dealing with specified questions concerning theses and analytical approaches of the readings - Presentation of students’ research projects - Open in-class discussion of questions and debates concerning the course topic
Successful participation in the course requires:
- Good basic knowledge of the political systems of France, Germany, the UK and the EU - Some comparative knowledge about political systems in Europe - Interest in analytical approaches and research debates dealing with Europeanization - Readiness to engage in analytical and problem-oriented thinking and discussion
Class assignments and grading
- Active and informed participation - Presentation of readings and input for discussion - Submission of questions and issues for discussion - In-class presentation of research project - Final term paper