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Caution: only pages sharing this background are specifically for this course.
Pages for AUM's Master of International Relations at Maxwell AFB.
Summer '05 Course, POLS6350, Area Studies: Western Europe.
Section 1322 (3), Wednesday evenings, Summer 2005.
Index | Chapter Questions | Question Bank | Syllabus | Timetable | more
Reorganized and revised 11 June with many more questions, by Jeremy Lewis .








Some flags link to the weekly topic.  Some readings link to previous students' outlines.
Note that video documentary clips will be inserted only where time and equipment permits.
Asterisks beside Session numbers indicate study group sessions.
Outlines linked from this page were written for PSC 302 by residential students at HC.

  • Session 1, W 1 June: Introductions
  • Explanation of syllabus and timetable
  • Explanation of requirements & study group
  • Approaches to Comparative Politics [Lecture]
  • Regional, National, Global and Cultural.
  • Formal and informal; national and supranational institutions.
  • Nation states and Non-Governmental Organizations.
  • Statics and Dynamics; Measurement.
  • Reading (workbook); PSC 302 Comparative Government: Topic
  • Hauss, Outline of Chapter, from Comparative Government.: 3: "The Industrialized Democracies." (2003)
  • How are the industrialized democracies different from developing countries?
  • Do they have genuine commonalities of culture and political process, despite differing institutions?
  • Is democracy really linked to a developed economy?

  • Session 2, W 8 June: Comparing Institutions
  • Steiner : author's introduction.
  • How can Europe be defined?
  • How far does Europe stretch?
  • Is there a genuine European identity -- or is that only a dream?
  • Steiner 1: Parties
  • What kinds of political party are there in Western Europe?
  • What dimensions are useful in analyzing parties in political space?
  • How would European parties fit in US political space?
  • Where are the equivalents to Republicans and Democrats?
  • Steiner 2: Parliamentary Election Systems
  • How are parties' fortunes affected by election systems?
  • What kinds of election systems are more fair?
  • Is voting for party rather than voting for candidates a more realistic system of accountability?
  • How does geographic distribution of votes interact with election systems?
  • videos House of Commons: Prime Minister's Question Time. Mrs. Thatcher, Mr. Major, Mr. Blair.
  • To what degree does question time function as a policy debate rather than a gladiatorial contest between party leaders?
  • How well would a US president fare in QT?
  • To what degree is a minister actually held to account in QT?
  • Steiner 3: Cabinet Formation & Heads of State
  • How does the cabinet joint the legislature to the executive?
  • What types of cabinets are there?
  • How large a group of parties and factions is needed in a cabinet?
  • Does the US cabinet function as a cabinet in the European sense?
  • Steiner 4 Courts & Constitutional Judicial Review
  • Who should check the constitutionality of statutes or executive actions?
  • Are appointed judges compatible with democracy?
  • Steiner 5: Federalism & Referendum;
    1. Can a United States of Europe ever be forged?
    2. Should Europe remain a confederation of states -- or become a full federal state?
    3. Is "subsidiarity" really the antithesis of federalism -- or is it really just nationalism?
    4. Does the referendum obstruct deliberative democracy?
    5. Why do we need representatives, if citizens have good communications with government?

  • Session 3 W 15 June: Comparing Advanced Nation States: Beginning with BRITISH POLITICS

  • Session 4, W 22 June* Study Group:Comparing Movements & Processes
    1. Is progress always forward?
    2. Does a protest movement indicate strength or weakness?
    3. Will social pressures be concentrated in the same institution in each country -- or the one more powerful in each system?
    4. Is terrorism a form of political protest movement?
  • Steiner 6: State and Economic Interest Groups
    1. What if anything is wrong with those who own the country, running it?
    2. Should economic interest groups cooperate with the State in setting public policy -- especially on the economy?
    3. Is competition rather than cooperation a successful way to control price inflation?
    4. Should US campaign funding and spending be restricted European style, to limit special interest group influence?
    5. Is representation of special interests essentially evil -- or positively good for society?
  • Steiner 7: New Social Movements & Churches.
    1. Do women in Europe want different improvements than in those in the US?
    2. Which is more symptomatic of progress: better support for a group in the workplace, or in the home?
    3. Why (if it is true) have envrionmental groups established more law and regulation in Europe than in the US?
    4. Does establishment of a church erode religiosity?
    5. As a society becomes more educated and sophisticated, does it tend to see beyond religion and superstition?
    6. If US youth is wealthy but politically passive, and European youth forging political protest movements -- why?
  • Steiner 8: Decision Process & Policy Outcomes.
    1. How do decision processes for making public policy differ between the US and Europe, and between PM and presidential systems?
    2. Why do policy outcomes vary between European states?
    3. Is the welfare state in Europe a result of ideology, political parties, or interest group demands?
    4. Is the US really the exceptional system for public policy -- or is there an Anglo-Saxon type?
  • Steiner 9: History of the Rise & Fall of Communism
    1. What were the roots of communist thinking in Western Europe?
    2. Why did communism collapse so quickly in Eastern Europe?
    3. Why did some states enjoy velvet revolutions while others suffered violent overthrows of communist regimes?

  • Session 5, W 29 June: Test, & FRENCH POLITICS
  • Test, cumulative essay test, paper supplied, one hour
  • Wilson, Part III FRANCE
    1. How do French terms like Government by Assembly, Nation and State, indicate a difference of political thinking and experience from the US?
    2. Why have the French labelled their democratic regime the Fifth Republic?
    3. Why is the French executive called a hybrid system?
    4. Does "cohabitation" indicate a flaw in the French constitutional design?
  • Curtis v.2
  • documentary De Gaulle & Spirit of France. [Notes 2] [Slides]
    1. Did Charles De Gaulle succeed in making France "marry her century"?
    2. In what sense did De Gaulle believe he embodied the spirit of France?
    3. Was De Gaulle (and is France now) anti-American -- or simply independent?

  • Session 6, W 6 July: Socialism, Markets, and Nationalism.
  • Curtis v.2:
  • Marx
  • Steiner 10: Democratization and Marketization.
    1. What forces democratize states -- and is it likely to happen at a certain level of income?
    2. Is there a connection between political and economic market competition?
  • Steiner 11: Nationalism & Ethnicity in Europe
    1. Are nationalism and ethnic identity political contradictions?
    2. Is nationalism politically a dangerous force?
    3. Could ethnicity tear apart the EU?
    4. Is a state stronger if homogenous in identity -- or if socially diverse?
  • Steiner 12: Power Sharing in Multiethnic Societies
    1. Can the theory of consociational democracy provide both peace and justice?
    2. Is ethnic cleansing, if non-violent, equally just as power-sharing?
    3. Does formal power-sharing have the disadvantage of recognizing evil forces such as terrorism?
    4. What is the difference between power-sharing, positive discrimination and US affirmative action?

  • Session 7, W 13 July: Supra-National Institutions and Federalism
  • MAPS | Historic Maps
  • Steiner 13: History & Institutions of European Union.
    1. What were the phases of the development of the EU?
    2. Is the EU led by economic integration more than political development?
    3. Is the EU suffering a democratic deficit because of long term or short term forces?
    4. How does the design of EU institutions compare with that of the US?
  • Steiner 14: Policies of European Union.
    1. To what degree is the EU coming up with similar policies to the US but by different processes?
    2. Is it generally true that the EU is a welfare state?
    3. Is is true that the EU serves society rather than businesses -- while the US is friendly to business rather than consumers?
    4. Why is the EU so reluctant to intervene with military force abroad?
  • Steiner 15: What New Order for Europe?
    1. Will expansion bring a deepening of the EU community -- or will diversity pull it apart?
    2. Will the EU retain these characteristics: Christian, democratic, western led, and balancing open markets with social services?
  • Wilson, Part I p.1-5, INTRODUCTION: Triumph of Democracy?
    1. With the collapse of Marxism as a political force, and democratization, is democracy now triumphant?
  • Wilson, Part VI A NEW EUROPE
    1. How will the EU continue to develop?
    2. Can we predict the EU's future from its first half century?
  • Documentary New Europeans. Two of five part series. [Slides]
    1. How does regional pride challenge some nation states and will it strengthen or weaken the EU?
    2. Can multiple identities coexist, or will some level of government eventually dominate social identity?
  • Lecture, The Development of the EU  [PPT, slow] [HTM slides]
    1. Can we distinguish between functional, areal, economic and political union?
    2. Is there a tension between broad and deep integration?
    3. Has there been a period of reversed development of the EU -- or has its development been linear?

  • Comparing Advanced Nation States: Continued
  • Session 8, W 20 July* Study Group:GERMAN POLITICS.

  • Session 9, W 27 July* Study Group: ITALIAN POLITICS.
  • Curtis v.1 Machiavelli
    1. How much resemblance does modern Italian politics bear to Machiavelli's analysis of renaissance politics?
    2. How different are Machiavelli's writings in the Prince and the Discourses on Livy?
    3. Is Machiavelli an authoritarian or a republican?
    4. In what sense is Machiavelli a political scientist rather than political theorist?
  • Wilson, Part VII CONCLUSION: Challenges to Democracy, & Strengths
    1. How does European democracy compare with the US?
    2. Is there a democratic deficit in modern Europe?

  • Mediterranean Politics as a type.  [Lecture]
  • (Spain & Portugal, MAPS (Greece)
    1. Will the Mediterranean always be the backward member of Europe?
    2. To what degree do Mediterranean states form a type of politics?
    3. Is trust in the group outside the family essential to political development?
    4. Is the lack of a reformation related to political development?
  • Scandinavian politics as a type. [Lecture] [MAPS]
  • Castle & Sainsbury "Scandinavia: the Politics of Stability" article
  • [Student's presentation notes
    1. How does group membership affect politics?
    2. Does open government permit executives to function effectively?
    3. Does social democracy depend on small, homogenous populations?
    4. If government is honest and efficient, why limit its share of national income?
  • W 3 Aug FINAL EXAM. Comprehensive, in last class session
  • Paper Due: 15-20 pages, proper organization & APSA citation style.