Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
People and Power: Understanding Comparative Politics Today
Academic Year
Semester 2
Reading List
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written essay  2000 Words  50%
Semester Assessment Seminar performance  (contributions to seminar discussions)  10%
Semester Assessment Blog assignment  1500 Words  40%
Supplementary Assessment Reviews in lieu of seminar particpation  (2 x 250 word review pieces)  10%
Supplementary Assessment Written essay  2000 Words  50%
Supplementary Assessment Blog assignment  1500 Words  40%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

​1. Define and discuss the comparative method.

2. Define and discuss key political concepts and relationships.

3. Discuss the application of the comparative method and political concepts and relationships to empirical examples.

4. Assess the operation and effectiveness of political relationships.

5. Identify the role of key political phenomena in shaping political relationships.

6. Introduce students to key political dynamics associated with the Politics degree scheme. ​

Brief description

This module introduces students to the rationale behind the practice of comparative politics. During the course of the module, students will explore a range of key concepts and debates about different political forces and relationships and see how they relate to examples drawn from the practice of politics in different parts of the world. The theme of political inequalities will be prominent throughout the module and students will be asked to reflect on the different ways that political inequalities are created and sustained and how they might be overcome.


The module is taught through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures will be paired, exploring key concepts or relationships in theory and then in practice (comparatively). Examples of political phenomena studied during the module include ideology, inequality and the role of the state. The political relationships will include electoral, populist, authoritarian and socially embedded relationships (such as clientelism or corruption) as well as social movements.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Not applicable
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to focus closely on material relevant to the objectives of their argument or discussion. This module will test oral communication skills as it involves assessed seminar performance. Students will be expected to demonstrate effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in their written work.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students’ attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to use Blackboard to access materials for the module, use relevant websites, use Turnitin to submit essays and access their essay feedback and provision marks.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is design the help students develop key employability skills, such as speaking to small and large groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statements of others, as well as expressing themselves clearly in writing.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of an essay and preparation for seminar discussions will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt different points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; reason logically; apply theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems.
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts.
Subject Specific Skills Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas relevant to the module. Subject specific skills include: • Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module; • Ability to evaluate competing perspectives; • Demonstrate subject specific research techniques; • Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems.
Team work Students will work together in small and large groups in the seminars to consider different aspects of the topic and specific reading assignments.


This module is at CQFW Level 5