School of Public Policy and Management
. Tsinghua University
Comparative Politics and Governments
(Course Code: 80590173)
Lecture room: 6B-204
Lecture time: Monday 9:50-12:15
Prof. Qingxin K. Wang
Ken C. Tsai
This course is a general survey of basic concepts and issues in the study of comparative politics. The course aims to build a basic foundation for students to understand and analyze politics and governments in major countries, including the United States, China and some developing countries (areas) in East Asia. The course starts with two most important political ideologies, liberalism and Marxism, and their practice in the United States and China through a close look at the political institutions in these two countries. It moves to analyze the important issues of political change in historical and comparative context such as the social conditions for revolutions and democratization. The course then examines major theories and experiences of economic developments in the Third World. Lastly, it gives a brief introduction to the theory and practice of Confucianism that had been the dominant state ideology in the long history of China.
Course Requirements: Class attendance is required. Reading assignment should be done in advance of each relevant lecture. Active class participation is encouraged. Each student is required to do three presentations throughout the course. Two of them are critique of two different assigned articles under different topics. The third presentation is based on the discussion question listed in this course outline. Each student should choose one discussion question. The two critiques need to be submitted within one week after the presentation, with their lengths around 3 to 4 pages. At the end of the semester, each group is required to submit a term paper which should be based on the presentation of the discussion question, with its length around 4000 to 5000 words.
Format of critique: A standard critique consists of at least two parts: a succinct summary of the main arguments of the article being critiqued, and a critical evaluation of the arguments based on alternative perspectives.
Reading materials: Reading materials are provided in class. The main textbook below is also available in the School Library on the fifth floor.
Michael J. Sodaro, Comparative Politics: A Global Introduction (Boston: McGraw Hill, 2007).
There are two kinds of required readings in this syllabus which are provided in the reading package. The first kind are the required readings which are marked with asterisk. The second kind are recommended readings most of which are provided in the reading packages.
I. Introduction: Issues of Comparative politics and How do we study it
Issues: What is politics, the goals of governments, the normative issues vs. empirical issues, what is political science, the limits of scientific study
Thematic approach vs. comparative approach
Sodaro, chapters 1,3.
2. Ideology I: Liberalism
Issues: State of nature, natural law and natural rights, the limits of government,
*Sodaro, chapters 7, 13 (pp. 312-315)
John Locke, “Two treatises of Government,” in William Ebenstein, Great Political Thinker, (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1961), pp. 393-403, pp,403-409.
James Madison, Federalist Paper, No.10.
Discussion Question: Discuss the major features of the political systems in your countries in terms of its historical development, culture, political ideology, operating procedures (how leaders are chosen, how ordinary people take part in politics) and then critically evaluate these systems from the perspective of the liberal ideology.
3. Ideology II: Marxism
Issues: Historical materialism, class struggle, socialism.
*Sodaro, chapter 13 (pp. 315-322).
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, “Manifesto of the Communist Party, “ Part I. in Robert Tucker, ed., The Marx-Engles Reading (New York: Norton and Company, 1978), pp.469-483, 483-491.
V.I. Lenin, “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism, “ in Paul Viotti and
Mark Kauppi, International Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism and Globalism (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987), pp.441-452.
Discussion Questions: discuss the major features of the political systems in your countries in terms of its historical development, culture, political ideology, operating procedures (how leaders are chosen, how ordinary people take part in politics) and then critically evaluate these countries from the perspective of the Marxist ideology.
4. Democratic Institutions I: the Institutional Structure in US
Issues: US constitution, Separation of power, bill of rights, freedom of speech
*Sodaro, chapter 8 (pp.194-204).
Robert E. DiClerico and Allan S. Hammock, Points of View: Readings in American Government and Politics (New York: Random House, 1989), pp.233-256, 297-317.
Amitai Etzioni “In Defense of the Patriot Act：How far is it reasonable to go in the name of national security?”National Interest, November 1, 2011
Paul Pillar, “Messing with the Separation of Powers,” National Interest, November 3, 2011.
Discussion Question: Discuss the major features of the American political systems and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses through comparison with the political system in your own countries.
5. Democratic Institutions II: Power and Decision-making process in US
Issues: Election, interest groups, power, the arguments of elitism and pluralism.
*Sadaro, chapter 8 (pp.205-215), chapter 4.
C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite (London: Oxford University Press, 1956). Chapters 1 and 5.
Peter Bachrach and Morton S. Baratz, “Two Faces of Power,” American Political Science Review 56, no.4 (December 1962).
Robert Dahl, Who Governs? (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1961)， chapters 1 and 2.
Discussion Question: To what extent do you agree with the arguments of elitism that the American political system is being dominated by the power elite?
6. Socialist Institutions : The Practice of Socialism in China
Issues: historical background, the politics under Mao, formal political institutions, reforms after Mao.
*Sodaro, chapter 21.
James C. F. Wang, Contemporary Chinese Politics: An Introduction ((New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1995), chapter 1,2.,4.
Stuart Schram. The Political Thought of Mao Tse-Tung (New York: Praeger: 1963), chapter 3, pp.210-215, pp.226-235.
Deng Xiaoping, “Emancipate the Mind, Seek Truth from Facts and Unite as One in Looking to the Future, “ Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping (Beijing : the Foreign Language Press, 1983).
Discussion Question: Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Chinese political system.
7. Political Development I: Social Origins of Revolutions and Democratization
Issues: Different paths of revolutions, social conditions for democratization
*Stanley Rothman, “Barrington Moore and the Dialectics of Revolution,”
American Political Science Review 64 (March 1970), pp. 69-105
Barrington Moore, The Social Origins of Democracy and Dictatorship, chapters
Theda Skocpol, “France, Russia, China: A Structural Analysis of Social Revolutions,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 1976, Vol.18, No.2, pp.275-310.
Ted Gurr, “The Revolution-Social Change Nexus,” Comparative Politics 5 (April 1973)。
Discussion Question: What are the social conditions for revolutions and
8. Political Development II: The Democratization of Modern Polities
Issues: Causes for recent democratizations, difference between the old democratizations and new democratizations, unstable democracy.
*Sadaro, chapter 9, chapter 23 (pp.773-797)
*Samuel Huntington, “Democracy’s Third Wave,” Journal of Democracy 2 (Spring 1991).
Valerie Bunce, “Rethinking Recent Democraticization: Lessons from the
Postcommunist Experience,” World Politics 55, no.2 (January 2003).
Jack A. Goldstone, “Understanding the Revolution of 2011,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011.
Seymour M. Lipset, 1959, “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy,” American Political Science Review 53,
Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1991, Chapter 1,2 & 4, pp.11-99.
Michael McFaul, “The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship: Noncoopereative Transitions in the Postcommunist World,” World Politics 54, No.2 (January 2002).
Discussion question: Judging from the experiences of your own countries, to what extent do you agree with the theoretical arguments of the American political scientists about political development?
9. Modernization and Economic Development
Issues: colonialism, the dependency theory, world system theory, dependent development
*W.W. Rostow, The Stage of Economic Development: A Noncommunist Manifestation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), chapters 1,2
Douglass North and Robert Thomas, The Rise of the Western World: A New Economic history (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1973), Part I, pp.1-18.
Mancur Olson, 1993, “Dictatorship, Democracy and Development, American Political Science Review 87 (3) (September).
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and Spirit of Capitalism (Routledge, 1992)， Part I.
10. Dependency and Economic Development
*Sadaro, Chapter 23, pp.762-772.
Andre Gunder Frank， ReOrient：Global Economy in Asian Age (Berkeley：
University of California Press, 1998), chapter 6.
Steve Hobden and Richard W. Jones, "Marxist Theory of International
Relations," in John Baylis and Steve Smith, The Globalization of World Politics: An Introduction of World Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp.200-224.
Osvaldo Sunkel, “Big Business and Dependencia,” in Viotti and Kauppi, pp.477-489.
Valenzuela and Valenzuela, “Modernization and Dependency,” in Paul Viotti and
Mark Kauppi, International Relations Theory: Realism, Pluralism and Globalism
(New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1987), pp. 452-477.
Discussion Question: Drawing on historical experiences of your own country,
to what extend do you agree with the arguments of the dependency theory?
11. Economic Development and the Model of Developmental State: The Case of East Asian countries
Issues: The model of developmental state, the Japanese economic miracle, the four tigers in East Asia, the experiences of Chinese economic reforms
*Sodaro, chapter 15
Tun-jen Cheng, "Political Regimes and Development Strategies: South Korea and Taiwan," in Gereffi and Wyman, eds., Manufacturing Miracles (Princeton, 1990), pp. 139-178.
He Li, “The Chinese Path of Economic Reform and Its Implications”, Asian Affairs: An American Review, Winter 2005, Vol.31, No.4.
Scott Kennedy，“The Myth of the Beijing consensus,” Journal of Contemporary China, June 2010.
Robert Wade. 1992. “East Asia’s Economic Success,” World Politics, 44 (2, January): 270-320。
Alexander Gerschenkron, Economic Backwardness in Historical Perspective:
A Book of Essays (Harvard University Press, 1962).
Discussion Question: Drawing on the experiences of your own countries, to what extent do you think the East Asian (especially Chinese) model of economic development are applicable to your own countries?
12. Confucianism: An Introduction
Issues: the Confucian conception of benevolence (ren) and justice (yi), and comparison with Western liberal ideas.
* H.G. Greel, Confucius: The Man and the Myth,” (Routelege , London),
Wing-Tsit Chan, ed., A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy, (Prnceton: Princeton University Press, 1963), chapter 2, pp. 14-48.
Edward Shils, “Reflections on Civil Society and Civility in the Chinese Intellectual Tradition,” Tu Wei-ming,ed., Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity: Moral Education and Economic Culture in Japan and the Four Mini-Dragons (Cambridge,MA.: Harvard University Press, 1996).
Peter Nosco, “Confucian Perspectives on Civil Society and Government,” in
Daniel A. Bell, ed., Confucian Political Ethics (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), chapter 2.
Discussion Question: What are the Confucian conceptions of politics and society?
13. Confucianism and Political Development
* Francis Fukuyama, “Confucianism and Democracy,” Journal of Democracy,
Eddie C. Y. Kuo, “Confucianism as Political Discourse in Singapore: The
Case of an Incomplete Revitalization Movement,” in Tu Wei-Ming,ed., Confucian Traditions in East Asian Modernity: Moral Education and Economic Culture in Japan and the Four Mini-Dragons (Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press, 1996).
L.H.M. Ming and Chih-Yu Shi, “Confucianism with a Liberal Face: The Meaning of Democratic Politics in Post-Colonial Taiwan,” Review of Politics, May 1998.
Daniel A. Bell, China’s New Confucianism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008), pp.175-191.
Discussion Question: To what extent do you think Confucianism is relevant
to the politics of the contemporary world? How does Confucian conception of politics differ from liberal democracy?
14. Conclusion: Future of Politics
Issues: The future direction of Western and Eastern political systems, the effects of political culture and clashing civilizations
Francis Fukuyama, “The End of history?” in Richard K. Betts, Conflict after the Cold War: Arguments on Causes of War and Peace (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1994).
Samuel Huntington, “The Future of the Third Wave,” in Bernard E. Brown, Comparative Politics: Notes and Readings (Peking University Press, 2003).
Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations," Foreign Affairs 72, No.3
Larry Diamond, “Thinking about Hybrid Regimes: Elections without Democracy,” Journal of Democracy, (April 2002).
Discussion Question: Compare and evaluate the arguments of Fukuyama and Huntington.