Comparative Party Systems and Electoral Behaviour (POLS 513)

2023 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.


1. Develop and deepen the current and advanced knowledge in the field with original thought and/or research and come up with innovative definitions based on Master's degree qualifications 4

2. Conceive the interdisciplinary interaction which the field is related with ; come up with original solutions by using knowledge requiring proficiency on analysis, synthesis and assessment of new and complex ideas. 5

3. Evaluate and use new information within the field in a systematic approach. 5

4. Develop an innovative knowledge, method, design and/or practice or adapt an already known knowledge, method, design and/or practice to another field; research, conceive, design, adapt and implement an original subject. 4

5. Critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation of new and complex ideas. 5

6. Gain advanced level skills in the use of research methods in the field of study. 4

7. Contribute the progression in the field by producing an innovative idea, skill, design and/or practice or by adapting an already known idea, skill, design, and/or practice to a different field independently. 4

8. Broaden the borders of the knowledge in the field by producing or interpreting an original work or publishing at least one scientific paper in the field in national and/or international refereed journals. 4

9. Demonstrate leadership in contexts requiring innovative and interdisciplinary problem solving. 3

10. Develop new ideas and methods in the field by using high level mental processes such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. 5

11. Investigate and improve social connections and their conducting norms and manage the actions to change them when necessary. 4

12. Defend original views when exchanging ideas in the field with professionals and communicate effectively by showing competence in the field. 5

13. Ability to communicate and discuss orally, in written and visually with peers by using a foreign language at least at a level of European Language Portfolio C1 General Level. 5

14. Contribute to the transition of the community to an information society and its sustainability process by introducing scientific, technological, social or cultural improvements. 3

15. Demonstrate functional interaction by using strategic decision making processes in solving problems encountered in the field. 4

16. Contribute to the solution finding process regarding social, scientific, cultural and ethical problems in the field and support the development of these values. 5

1. Develop the ability to use critical, analytical, and reflective thinking and reasoning 5

2. Reflect on social and ethical responsibilities in his/her professional life. 3

3. Gain experience and confidence in the dissemination of project/research outputs 4

4. Work responsibly and creatively as an individual or as a member or leader of a team and in multidisciplinary environments. 5

5. Communicate effectively by oral, written, graphical and technological means and have competency in English. 5

6. Independently reach and acquire information, and develop appreciation of the need for continuously learning and updating. 5

1. Develop a thorough knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in the field and apply them in research design and data analysis. 5

2. Assess the impact of the economic, social, and political environment from a global, national and regional level. 5

3. Know how to access written and visual, primary and secondary sources of information, interpret concepts and data from a variety of sources in developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses. 5

1. Begin to grasp historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics. 2

1. Begin to grasp historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics. 2


  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.