Comparative Party Systems and Electoral Behavior (POLS 404)

2022 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
Mert Moral,
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SPS101 SPS102
Formal lecture,Seminar,On-line task/distance
Interactive,Learner centered,Communicative,Discussion based learning,Task based learning
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This course is designed to introduce undergraduate students to theories and facts about political parties, comparative political party systems, interest or pressure groups, and interest group systems. The objective of the course is to teach students how organized political action takes shape, and how such action influence the structure of party and interest group systems.


The main objective of this course is to introduce undergraduate and graduate students to the classical and contemporary literatures on party and electoral politics in established democracies to seek answers to the following questions: What and whose policy and ideological positions do political parties represent? Are party systems plastic or do they allow ``new'' parties to be represented in legislatures? Who are such new political actors in representative democracies and what alternatives do they present to their constituents? How and to what extent legislative elections serve as a means of popular control over policy-making? How do individuals make their decisions to turn out and vote for particular parties/candidates, and what are the behavioral, instrumental, expressive, and strategic determinants of their behavior?


  • Upon completion of this course, the students will have a thorough understanding of the roles institutional and political contexts, and socio-demographic factors play in shaping party competition and individual behavior; historical, institutional, and ideological origins of political parties; and the roles of elections and representative democracy in translating public choice into public policy.
  • Over the course of the semester, we will first examine several important roles political parties play in representative democracies, and the institutional and sociological explanations of their origins in Western European democracies.
  • We will then delve into distinct types of cleavages that newer parties represent in both advanced and developing democracies.
  • In the last part of the semester, we will focus on the other party of the reciprocal relationship between public opinion and policy --the electorate.
  • Lastly, we will touch upon behavioral, rational, and mixed explanations of electoral behavior to make sense of the increasing prominence of niche parties, political polarization, and populism in the last couple of decades as well as the future of the representative democracy.


1. Understand the world, their country, their society, as well as themselves and have awareness of ethical problems, social rights, values and responsibility to the self and to others. 5

2. Understand different disciplines from natural and social sciences to mathematics and art, and develop interdisciplinary approaches in thinking and practice. 4

3. Think critically, follow innovations and developments in science and technology, demonstrate personal and organizational entrepreneurship and engage in life-long learning in various subjects; have the ability to continue to educate him/herself. 5

4. Communicate effectively in Turkish and English by oral, written, graphical and technological means. 5

5. Take individual and team responsibility, function effectively and respectively as an individual and a member or a leader of a team; and have the skills to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. 3

1. Develop knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in humanities and social sciences. 4

2. Assess how global, national and regional developments affect society. 5

3. Know how to access and evaluate data from various sources of information. 4

1. Analyze global affairs from international relations and economics perspectives. 2

2. Demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge of the international affairs. 2

3. Compete for increasing opportunities in careers within the newly emerging global institutions. 4

4. Evaluate the international political events and present their views and positions on international affairs with advanced oral and written skills. 4

1. To analyze national and global events from various social science perspectives. 5

2. To demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge on political science and international relations and to state views and positions with advanced oral and written skills. 5

3. To compete for increasing career opportunities in national and global institutions. 4

4. To (be able to) understand and follow the changes in political behaviours, opinions and structures. 5

5. To gain the ability to make logical inferences on social and political issues based on comparative and historical knowledge. 5

1. Understand and follow changes in patterns of political behavior, ideas and structures. 5

2. Develop the ability to make logical inferences about social and political issues on the basis of comparative and historical knowledge. 5


  Percentage (%)
Final 30
Midterm 25
Assignment 25
Participation 20



* Aldrich, John H. 1995. Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Political Parties in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
* Cox, W. Gary. 1997. Making Votes Count. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
* Çarkoğlu, Ali, and Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, eds. (In press). Illiberal or Not, Turkey Votes 2018. Routledge.
* Dalton, Russell J., and Christopher J. Anderson, eds. 2011. Citizens, Context, and Choice: How Context Shapes Citizens' Electoral Choices. New York: Oxford University Press.
-- Dalton, Russell, and Hans-Dieter Klingemann, eds. 2009. The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press. [on SU Course+]
* Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing.
* Inglehart, Ronald F. 2018. Cultural Evolution: People?s Motivations Are Changing, and Reshaping the World. New York: Cambridge University Press.
* Leighley, Jan E., ed. 2010. The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press.
* Mair, Peter, ed. 1990. The West European Party System, Oxford Readings in Politics and Government. New York: Oxford University Press.
* Norris, Pippa, and Ronald Inglehart. 2019. Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism. New York: Cambridge University Press.
* Powell, G. Bingham. 2000. Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions. New Haven: Yale University Press.
* Verba, Sidney, Kay Lehman Schlozman, and Henry E. Brady. 1995. Voice and Equality: Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.