What is the state, and where did it come from?

POS150: Comparative Governments
Course and Faculty Information
Instructor: Sana Mahmandar

Credits: 3

Course Description
What is the state, and where did it come from? Why are some states democratic and others authoritarian? Are some cultures incompatible with democracy? What explains the different types of dictatorships we observe in the world? Are people materially better off in democracies or dictatorships? How can we explain democratic transition? Is the decision-making process in democracies normatively superior to that in dictatorships? How do institutions influence the quality of political representation, who gets to rule, and with what consequences?

These questions are what comparative politics scholars have historically focused on and deemed to be vitally important. It is undeniable that the causes and consequences of democracy and dictatorship have been, and continue to be, foundational to the study of comparative governments and politics. It is for this reason that answering these questions related to democracy and dictatorship is the front and center of this class.

This class will explore the origins of the modern state through the lens of democracy and dictatorship; analyze how regimes and political processes around the world, like dictatorship and electoral rules, differ along multiple dimensions; and Illustrate how the diversity, strengths, and weaknesses of contemporary political systems influence real-world political outcomes.

Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course you will be able to:

Identify the major questions in comparative politics and the field’s best answers to those questions.
Evaluate competing claims in the existing literature of comparative politics using the scientific approach and methodological tools.
Breakdown the core features and essential characteristics of different types of regimes and institutions.
Compare the fundamental attributes that drive variation in the economic and political outcomes of different governments.
Course Layout
This course is divided into four parts. The first part is designed to serve as an introduction to comparative political science by conceptualizing the scientific method and political theories used in this field and by exploring the two fundamental questions of comparative politics: what is science and what is politics?

The second part of the course will contrast democracy and dictatorship and focus on their causes and consequences. Specifically, it will explore the origins of the modern state and why some countries are democracies and others are dictatorships, as well as examine the economic and cultural determinants of democracy and dictatorship. Furthermore, this part will explore the dynamics of democratic transitions and the variation on the process of democratization.

Part three will take a closer look at the distinction between dictatorships and democracies by classifying the different types of authoritarian and democratic regimes, focusing on the fundamental problems of totalitarian rules and the problems of group decision making, and finally, by exploring the theories underpinning each of these political systems.

The course concludes with the fourth and final part, which concentrates on the varieties of democratic institutions and their political outcomes, as well as investigates how different types of democracy affect government performance and the survival of democracy itself.

Required Textbook
Foundations of Comparative Politics by William Roberts Clark, Matt Golder and Sona N Golder. Sage Publications Ltd. 2019 | ISBN 9781506360737

Assignments
Module 8: Final Paper
Submit Assignment
Due Tuesday by 11:59pm Points 25 Submitting a file upload File Types doc and docx
Review the assigned textbook readings covering the topic of democracy and dictatorship as a mode of government to answer the following hypothetical question:

What type of government would you recommend for a recently opened North Korea after a peaceful regime change to incorporate the country successfully into contemporary world society?

Write a paper in which you develop a policy recommendation, highlighting your innovative ideas for approaches to address government reforms, and focusing on the following:

Describe, briefly, the country’s mode of government currently based on your research and the materials presented in your textbook.

Discuss your choice of effective government form (monarchy, presidential democracy, dictatorship, etc) that will best help the integration of the country into the global scene.

Use the following paragraph layout for your paper:

Include a clear introductory paragraph, body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph that flow together.
The first paragraph should clearly state your policy recommendation and a summary of the main reasons for your choice of government.
In the body paragraphs, you should expand on your choice of government of and why you feel it is the best form of governing for the country using evidence from your textbook.
The final paragraph should be a concluding paragraph in which you restate your policy and position based on the evidence provided in the body of the paper.
Format your paper using the following guidelines:

Maximum of 2 Pages long (500 word count), excluding references and bibliography
12-point Times New Roman font
Double line spacing
1-inch margins
Include a References section with APA citations of the resources you cited in your paper.

Best of luck!

Rubric
Final Paper Rubric
Final Paper Rubric
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeAPA Style
5.0 to >4.0 pts
Excellent
Writing follows correct APA formatting, including in-text citations and a references page.
4.0 to >0.5 pts
Needs Improvement
Writing mostly follows correct APA formatting, including in-text citations and references page.
0.5 to >0 pts
Needs Significant Improvement
Writing does not follow APA formatting; lacks in-text citations and/or references page.
5.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeThesis statement
5.0 to >4.0 pts
Excellent
Paper included a clear thesis statement. The thesis statement names the topic of the essay and outlines the main points to be discussed.
4.0 to >0.5 pts
Needs Improvement
The thesis statement outlines the topic and some, but not all, of the main points to be discussed.
0.5 to >0 pts
Needs Significant Improvement
The thesis statement does not exist OR does not name the topic and does not preview what will be discussed.
5.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeParagraph topics
5.0 to >4.0 pts
Excellent
The topic of each paragraph is clear.
4.0 to >0.5 pts
Needs Improvement
The topic of each paragraph is somewhat clear, but improvements could be made.
0.5 to >0 pts
Needs Significant Improvement
The topic of each paragraph is unclear and significant revision is required.
5.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeContent
5.0 to >4.0 pts
Excellent
Excellent work. Purposefully and logically developed. Thoroughly addresses all aspects of the task. Synthesis of details and concepts from various sources or topics shows evidence of sound understanding and thoughtful examination.
4.0 to >0.5 pts
Needs Improvement
Satisfactory work. Shows basic understanding of concepts with minimal evidence of reflection or thoughtful analysis. Complies with the basic requirements, relies on limited sources of information and little integration of concepts.
0.5 to >0 pts
Needs Significant Improvement
Minimally satisfactory work. Shows some understanding of concepts with little reflection or analysis. Barely meets basic requirements of assignment.
5.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeConclusion
5.0 to >4.0 pts
Excellent
Paper includes a clear summary of the conclusion.
4.0 to >0.5 pts
Needs Improvement
Paper includes a summary of the conclusion but more detail is needed.
0.5 to >0 pts
Needs Significant Improvement
Paper does not include a summary of the conclusion or is significantly lacking in detail.
5.0 pts
Total Points: 25.0

 

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What is the state and where did it come from

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