Comparative?Politics

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790:103 Michael Rossi
Introduction to Comparative Politics Fall 2016
*** Paper Assignment ? Due December 12, 2016 9:00 PM***
Write a 2500 ? 3000 word essay (roughly 7 ? 10 double-spaced pages), selecting one
of the three questions provided. Please also write the question you are answering and
the Word Count on your paper. It will not count towards your word limit. You are asked
to only rely on sources and information obtained in class and class lectures, but you are
welcome to use outside readings to supplement your class readings. Good luck!
Select at least two countries that we have covered in class (one from Great Britain,
Germany, India, and one from Venezuela, Russia, China) in addressing any of the
following questions:
1. How do hybrid regimes function within a democratic framework? What elements of
socio-political activity allow for certain parties and movements to obtain some kind of
electoral legitimacy by its citizens that enable them to not only acquire power, but
hold onto it for a considerably long period of time?
2. What is more important to have in ensuring democratic consolidation in a state:
democracy-as-structure (institutions), or democracy-as-practice (culture)? When
considering the non-democracies, which of the two do you think is absent, or at least
sufficiently weak, enough to perpetuate non-democratic government and inhibit
liberal democratic growth?
3. At the beginning of the semester we talked about the impracticality of ?grand theory?
in comparative politics. Having examined no less than six countries, do you still think
?grand theory? is feasible along the lines of what it originally argued (modernization
theory)? Do you think ?grand theory? can still function but under different arguments?
Or do you think ?grand theory? is simply impractical and we should examine a set of
smaller criteria? If you agree with the third argument, what approaches to the study
of socio-political development should we examine?
Primary Guidelines:
? The main criteria for evaluating your writing and critical thinking is described in the
grading evaluation section of your syllabus and will be the primary basis for how your
grade is reached.
? In writing an effective political science paper, the primary task is to develop an argument
and defend that argument through theoretical clarification and empirical examples. Do
NOT simply give your opinion without backing up your claims with explanation. Sad but
true, no one cares what you think. But if you can prove your point with evidence, then
you?ve got the reader?s attention.
? Your introduction, or at least your first page should tell me exactly what you intend to
argue and write about in your paper. Then explain your argument throughout the body of
your paper with specific examples. Your conclusion should tie in all of your points back
to your original argument.
? Be as clear as possible in explaining what you are writing. Assume the reader of your
paper is not familiar with the material we?ve covered in class. Many times, students write
with the assumption that everyone else agrees with his or her point of view and there is
no further need for clarification. This is one of the worst problems with Poli-Sci papers.
? Any and all materials from class are acceptable for this paper. This includes textbook,
online articles, and class notes. Do NOT use the dictionary, encyclopedia, or Wikipedia. I
will take points off for each if you do.
? DOCUMENT YOUR SOURCES! I am impartial to either MLA format or footnotes, but a
paper without any documentation will be an automatic F. All sources are properly
referenced in your syllabus for footnotes and bibliography. If you have any questions on
citing, please email me.
? You will need to provide a complete bibliography at the end of your paper. This includes
providing me the author, name of the source, and publication material. All proper
citations can be found in the syllabus. Simply copy/paste if you are in doubt as to the
correct format, and if all else fails, ask me for help. No bibliography will result in a 10
point deduction from your grade.
? All the main terms you need to define for your paper can be found in your class notes
and readings. Do NOT use the dictionary or any other outside reference source to define
things like ?democracy? or ?civil society?. I will automatically deduct ten points from your
overall score if you do. This should be your definition culled from class materials. The
dictionary denotes laziness in referring to materials you had all semester to learn.
? Please include both the whole question you are addressing and the Word Count. I will
take off 5 points if either of them are missing. Neither will count towards your 2500 word
limit. Depending on what you write and how you write, I can accept a paper with a word
count slightly under and slightly higher than 2500 words.
? Some suggested areas of focus that you may want to reference:
a) Electoral systems, or lack thereof
b) Why a strong civil society may be considered essential to democracy, but may on
occasion prove anti-democratic.
c) Why a predominant party system with freely competing political parties may
prove less democratic than an alternating party system.
d) The importance of political institutions
e) The presence of absence of a stable economy.
? Finally, you must upload a copy of your paper in MS Word format only to Sakai in
addition to handing in a hard copy. Papers will only be graded if both are done. The
deadline is December 12, at 9:00 PM

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