Comparative Party Systems and Electral Behaviour (POLS 513)

2022 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
Mert Moral,
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Doctoral, Master
Formal lecture,Seminar,On-line task/distance
Interactive,Learner centered,Communicative,Discussion based learning,Project based learning
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This course is designed to provide a review of historical and conceptual bases of modern party systems, mass electoral behaviour and election systems. Competing theoretical paradigms that adress the enduring issues in the literature are introduced, application of the basic tools of analysis in the literature are presented and comparable research questions for the Turkish context are discussed.


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.


  Percentage (%)
Midterm 20
Assignment 30
Term-Paper 30
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.