The purpose of this course is to provide a relatively in-depth survey of European politics. The study of European politics today (i.e., in the aftermath of the post-1989 collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, German unification, and the ascent of several East European nations to EU membership) is the exploration of politics "from the Atlantic to the Urals." That is, the scope of the course will reach from politics in the newly democratic nations of central and Eastern Europe to the developed democracies of Western Europe. However, some specialization is necessary: given the complexity of European politics, it is simply impossible to cover adequately all of Europe in one semester. Moreover, there are some substantial differences between West and East: some of the former communist systems of Eastern Europe are not yet fully democratic or capitalist; some belong to the "second" or even "third world" of economic development. Moreover, the legacies of Western and Eastern Europe differ substantially in several respects. Thus, these considerations (as well as the fact that additional courses on international and Eastern European politics exit), suggest that while we study broadly and engage in comparative analysis across West and East, we also concentrate to an extent on politics in the developed democracies of Western Europe.
The course is divided into five sections, each focusing on a major theme or area of European politics. The first section, "The Structure of the New Europe," will provide an overview of political development, the nation states of Europe, problems and conflicts in the new Europe, and European international organizations. The second section, "Case Studies: Major West European Democracies," will examine in some depth politics and variations in democratic institutions in a representative sample of advanced West European democracies: Britain, France, Germany, and Sweden. The third part of the course will consist of a detailed study of the central supranational institution, the European Union. The remainder of the course focuses on central elements of domestic politics and public policy. Section four examines systematically important aspects of socioeconomic conflicts; the representation of interests through organized groups, social movements, and political parties; and trends in political behavior (e.g., the rise of the new far right and new left or "green" parties). Section 5 examines key public policy issues in European politics, especially the development and contemporary crisis of the European welfare state.
A substantial portion of the course’s reading assignments will come from three books. These are available for purchase at the Book Marq and Sweeneys:
M. Donald Hancock, et al, Politics in Europe, 3nd Edition (Chatham House, 2002).
Paul Heywood, Erik Jones, and Martin Rhodes, Developments in West European Politics, 2nd Ed. (Palgrave, 2002).
Mark Kleinman, A European Welfare State? European Union Social Policy in Context (Plagrave, 2002).
For those students who wish to establish a solid background in post-World War II history and social, economic and political development, I strongly recommend the following (this can be read in conjunction with required readings over the first few weeks of the class):
William I. Hitchcock, The Struggle for Europe: The Turbulent History of a Divided Continent 1945 to the Present. (Anchor, 2004).
Grades will be based on three exams ‑‑ two hourly exams and a final -- and a research paper. Each of the exams will consist of a series of essay questions covering required readings and class materials; you will be asked to select three questions for the hourly exams and for the final from a larger list of questions. The research paper will involve an analysis of a specific question about European politics. A well-developed paper prospectus describing the problem; outlining the research focus, time frame, and countries for the paper; and including a preliminary bibliography is due on March 18. The paper is due May 6. Class attendance is required, subject of course to excused absences (e.g., sickness, family commitments); students are expected to actively participate in class. The elements of the final grade are weighted as follows:
Hourly Exam I: 20 % Hourly Exam II: 20 %
Paper Prospectus: 10 % Final Paper 30 %
Final Exam: 20 %
Most readings are in the required books. An additional set of short articles and special materials will be handed out in class (Class HO). A small number of readings (required or recommended) are on reserve at the library; these are denoted by LibRes below. The schedule of reading assignments is outlined below. For many topics, I also provide an annotated bibliography for those that wish to read more extensively.
For recent scholarly research and writing about West European politics, a number of good (English language) social science journals exist, including:
West European Politics European Journal of Political Research
European Journal of Political Economy Scandinavian Political Studies
European Union Politics European Economic Review
Journal of Common Market Studies Journal of European Public Policy
Journal of European Social Policy Comparative European Politics
The following political science journals, among others, also have a fair portion of articles of interest to Europeanists and fellow travelers:
British Journal of Political Science World Politics
Political Studies Comparative Politics
Comparative Political Studies Politics and Society
Government and Opposition Electoral Studies
International Organization Acta Sociologia
Beyond these journals, I recommend that students who wish to develop expertise in a particular nation read at least two or three country-specific periodicals on a regular basis. For instance, the student interested in Sweden may stay apprized of economic performance and policy by reading OECD Economic Survey: Sweden. Swedish society and politics are well covered in, among others, Current Sweden. In addition, one might read the better country-specific political science and public affairs journals. For example, for France, regular reading of the journals French Politics, French Politics and Society, Revue française de science politique, Revue politique et parlementaire, and Revue de droit public et de science politique is advised; for Germany, German Politics, Das Parlament, and Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte.
Schedule of Readings
Part I: The Structure of the New Europe: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives
January 19: Course Introduction
- no assigned reading
January 21/24/26: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on the New European Order
- Ch.1, "Security and Peace" in Ian Budge, et al, The Politics of the New Europe LibRes
- Ch. 3, "Reorganizing Security in Europe," in Heywood
- Ch. 4 in in Ian Budge, et al, The Politics of the New Europe LibRes
- (recommended) Ch. 3 in in Ian Budge, et al, The Politics of the New Europe LibRes
Recommended: A fascinating analysis of the historical development of European nations can be found in Charles Tilly, Coercion, Capital, and European States, AD 990-1990 (Cambridge, MA: Basil Blackwell, 1990). For a thorough analysis of the development of democratic institutions in Europe, see Chs. 1-4 in Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Huber Stephens, and John Stephens, Capitalist Development and Democracy (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992).
Part II: Country Studies: Major West European Democracies
January 28 & 31/Feb. 2 and 4: Power and Politics in Britain
- Part 1 in Hancock, et al, Politics in Western Europe
February 4/7/9/11: Power and Politics in France
- Part 2 in Hancock, et al, Politics in Western Europe
February 14/16/18/21: Power and Politics in Germany
- Part 3 in Hancock, et al, Politics in Western Europe
February 23: Hourly Exam I
February 25 & 28/ March 2 & 4: Sweden and the Nordic Model
- Part 5 in Hancock, et al, Politics in Western Europe
Recommended: For additional country studies and bibliography, see the excellent coverage in Mark Kesselman et al, European Politics in Transition, 5th Ed. (Houghton Mifflin, 2005); For excellent book-length treatments of politics in major European countries (e.g., David Conradt’s, The German Polity, 8th Ed.) see the Longman Publishers country series of books. Many presses have excellent series on European politics; for top-notch treatments of major topics in European politics, see the lists of Oxford University Press and Rutledge, among others.
Part III: The European Union
March 7/9/11/14/16: The Politics of European Integration
- Part 6 in Hancock, et al, Politics in Western Europe
- Ch. 1, Jones, "Europe at the Crossroads," in Heywood
- Ch. 11, Keating, " Territorial Politics...." in Heywood
Recommended: Excellent supplements to the above works are David Wood and Beril Yesilada, The Emerging European Union 2nd Ed. Longman, 2002. Helen Wallace and William Wallace, Policy-Making in the European Union, 4th Ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), and Kathleen McNamara, The Currency of Ideas: Monetary Politics in the European Union (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998).
March 18, research paper prospectus due
March 21 -25 and March 28: Spring and Easter Break
Part IV: Change and Continuity in the Representation of Interests in Europe
March 30/April 1/4/6/8
- Ch. 5, Broughton, "Participation and Voting " in Heywood
- Ch. 6, Webb, "Party Systems...." in Heywood
- Ch. 7, Mudde, "Extremist Movements"
- Ch. 9, Disintegration....Organized Interests in Europe" in Heywood
- Class HO Reading: "The Crisis of Neocorporatism"
- Ch. 4, Risse, "Nationalism and Collective Identities" in Heywood
Recommended: For more background on European interest groups, see Bruce Western, Between Class and Market (Princeton University Press 1999). Graham Wilson, Business and Politics: A Comparative Introduction, 3nd Ed (Chatham House, 2003). On the causes of change and continuity in European electoral and party systems, see Ronald Inglehart, Modernization and Postmodernization (Princeton University Press, 1997) and Herbert Kitschelt, The Transformation of European Social Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 1994) and The Far Right in Western Europe (University of Michigan Press, 1996).
April 11: Hourly Exam II
Part V: Public Policy: the Crisis of the European Welfare State, Environmental Politics, and Immigrations Politics
April 13/15: Development of the European Welfare State
- Class HO Reading: Development of the Modern Welfare State
- Chs. 1-2 in Kleinman, A European Welfare State?
April 18/20: Globalization and the Welfare State
- Ch.2, Rhodes, "Globalization, EMU, and Welfare State Futures" in Heywood
- Ch. 3 in Kleinman A European Welfare State?
April 22/25/27: The European Union and European Social Policy
- Chs. 4-9 in Kleinman A European Welfare State?
Recommended: analysis of the development and contemporary crisis of European welfare states can be found in Evelyne Huber and John Stephens, Crisis and Development of the Welfare Sate: Partisan Politics in the Global Economy (University of Chicago, 2001), Fritz Scharpf and Vivien Schmidt, Work and Welfare in the Open Economy (Oxford University Press, 20000, and Duane Swank, Global Capital, Political Institutions, an Policy Change in Developed Welfare States (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
April 27/May 2: Environmental Policy and Politics in Europe
- Ch. 12, Carter, "Environmental Challenges" in Heywood
May 4/6: Immigration Politics in Europe
- Ch. 14, "European Immigration Policies at the Crossroads" in Heywood
May 6: Research Papers Due
May 12 (Thursday 10:30-12:30 pm): Final Exam