In the winter semester 2022/23, the JP Comparative Politics offers two courses:
Democracy in Crisis? Challenges to democratic systems in contemporary Europe (BA seminar - in English)
(Liberal) democracy seems to be in danger - we frequently hear about growing dissatisfaction with democratic systems, electoral successes of populist parties and governments going against democratic norms. At the same time, the number of democratic countries in the world is at a high point and protests and mobilizations in the name of democracy are frequently in the news. The aim of this class is to assess to what extent we can speak of a crisis of (liberal) democracy and how this manifests itself in contemporary European democracies.
The course is divided into two parts: In the first part, we look at the rise (and potential fall) of liberal democracy as dominant political system. We will cover democracy's success in spreading across Europe, but also discuss why some authors argue democracy is now in retrenchment. The class introduces different concepts that have been proposed to understand this development (e.g. democratic fatigue, democratic backsliding).
In the second part of the seminar, we discuss whether the concepts introduced in the first part apply to contemporary Europe. The questions we will discuss include: Are illiberal governments reversing democratic rules? Do populist parties really endorse a new type of democracy? Are European citizens fed up with democracy? How can we understand mobilizations for more democracy and are they genuine?
Parliamentary debates (MA seminar - in German)
In democracies, parliaments are among the most important places of political debate. But how do parliaments and parliamentary debate work? In the first part of the course we deal with the functioning of parliaments and research on parliamentary language from the perspective of comparative politics. Important guidelines are the way parliaments work, the influence of parties and ideology, and socio-demographic differences between parliamentarians (e.g. gender).
In the second part of the course, we analyze parliamentary transcripts along the categories discussed. In addition, we learn methods of quantitative text analysis in the course and discuss relevant research applications from the field of analysis of parliamentary debates.
Since we will deal with the computer-aided quantitative analysis of parliamentary language in the second part of the course, basic knowledge of quantitative methods is strongly recommended.