POL30830 Parties and Party Competition

Academic Year 2019/2020

How can we identify differences between party systems, determine party positions, and measure public opinion? Do parties keep their promises or are politicians “pledge breakers”? Are promises in certain policy areas more likely to be fulfilled? In what policy areas do parties differ in terms of their positions and issue emphasis? And do parties respond to changes in public opinion?

In this module, we first discuss the main functions of political parties, outline features of representative democracies, and identify ways of measuring public opinion. Next, we assess whether parties keep their promises, whether the “mandate model of democracy” is a desirable and realistic mode of political representation, and how existing studies on election pledge fulfilment can be improved. Afterwards, we investigate parties’ willingness and capacity to respond to changes in public opinion. Fourth, we discuss different approaches of measuring party positions, political ideology, and the salience of policy areas. Based on these methodological approaches, we identify the circumstances under which parties change their positions and issue emphasis. Finally, we briefly discuss alternative types of political participation that go beyond representative government and electoral democracy.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Extensive knowledge of central theories of representation, the mandate model of democracy, and party competition
2. Detailed insights into past and current approaches to study questions about pledge fulfilment, party positions, responsiveness and issue ownership
3. Critical reading and discussing complex academic literature and diverse quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches

Indicative Module Content:

The following topics will be covered in this course: parties and party systems; the “mandate model of democracy”; measuring and aggregating public opinion; economic voting; the cost of governing; responsiveness; party competition; party positions, salience, and issue ownership; deliberative and direct democracy.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Lectures

22

Autonomous Student Learning

103

Total

125

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
• Active and task-based learning
• Group work and discussions
• In-class debates
• Problem-based learning 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.  
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Assignment: 1,000 word response paper Unspecified n/a Graded No

30

Essay: 2,500–3,000 word essay Unspecified n/a Graded No

70


Carry forward of passed components
No
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.  
Spring
     
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Mon 13:00 - 13:50
Lecture Offering 1 Week(s) - Spring: All Weeks Wed 15:00 - 15:50
Spring