Special Issues in Comparative Politics. The Political Systems of the United States and Russia

Faculty Instructor: 
ECTS: 
4
Code: 
ΚΕ0Χ33
Cycle / Level: 
Undergraduate
Compulsory / Optional: 
Optional
Teaching Period: 
Winter
Course Content: 

This course is a continuation with deeper analysis of the compulsory course of the second semester entitled “Introduction to Comparative Politics - the political systems of Western Europe.” It examines more profoundly the political systems of specific countries, which will vary from year to year. During the academic year 2014-5 the course will examine the political systems of the United States of America and of Russia.

As regards the US, the course introduces students to American politics, political institutions and to the international role of the United States. It examines, in particular, the historical development of the country and analyzes the structure and functioning of it political system, with emphasis on its federal characteristics and the international role of the country. Firstly, it examines the history of the country and the elements that contributed to the shaping of the American political system and its federal institutions; then, it delves into specific issues of the structure and operation of the political system. The course also examines the role and evolution of federal institutions, the impact of political culture in this context and the importance and role of parties, interest groups and the economy in shaping policy. Special reference is made to the foreign policy and the international role of the United States and its consequences at domestic level, while the course also examines other parameters such as the political, social and racial inequalities and their impact on the political system, the integration of minorities as well as the development and implementation of public policies.

As regards Russia, the course examines the basic feautres of the Russian political system, its political institutions, both formal and informal, and the international role of the country. It will consider particularly the historical context of the formation of the Russian State, the impact of the transition from the Soviet Union in Russia and the elements that shape the political culture of the country. The course also examines the characteristics of the constitutional structure of the country (such as federalism and the semi-presidential system), and the current political situation (for instance the changing political context, the elements of authoritarianism in its political system, the role of the leader/president in political life and the weak civil society). Particular emphasis is given to the unique federal system of the country, the role of ethnic minorities in the political system and the specific features of the Russian economy and society. It also examines the country's foreign policy in relation to the period of the Soviet Union and in comparison with that of the US and the international role of the country in the current period both vis-a-vis its neighbors and to the EU.

Lectures

United States
• The historical development of the United States and the political culture
• The federal system and the checks and balances
• The main political institutions (executive, legislative, judiciary)
• The political process (political parties, elections, interest groups)
• Public policies of the USA • Minorities and integration
• The international role of the United States
• The economy

Russia
• The historical development of the country
• The transition from the Soviet Union to Russia
• The regime - federation or central government, democratic institutions and authoritarianism
• The main political institutions (executive, legislative, judiciary)
• The political process (political parties, elections, interest groups)
• Public policies
• The nations and the role of minorities in the political context
• The international role of Russia and its place in the world
• The Russian economy

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon succesful completion of the course, student shall be able to: - have a complete view of how the political systems under examination function (both institutionally and in practice) - be able to understand and analyze better the political developments in the countries under examination and, on the basis of such analysis, handle better the information received about these countries - further develop their capacity to work on their own and analyze these political systems - move towards elaborating well-founded opinions on major issues linked to the countries under examination.

Bibliography: 
Βιβλιογραφία μαθήματος (Εύδοξος)
Madison J.,Hamilton A.,Jay J.: Τα ομοσπονδιακά κείμενα των ΗΠΑ. Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση. Αθήνα. 2009 Π. Πετρουλάκος: το Πολίτευμα των ΗΠΑ. Εκδόσεις Κριτική Α.Ε. Αθήνα 1995. Μ. Καραγιάννης (επιμ.). Η Ρωσία σήμερα. Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση. Αθήνα 2010
Επιπρόσθετη βιβλιογραφία για μελέτη
Θ. Διαμαντόπουλος: Το πολιτικό σύστημα των ΗΠΑ. Εκδόσεις Πατάκη. Αθήνα 2012 Θ. Βερέμης: ΗΠΑ. Από το 1776 έως σήμερα. Η εκδοχή ενός ταξιδιώτη. Εκδόσεις Σιδέρη. Αθήνα 2010. Χ. Παπασωτηρίου: Αμερικανικό Πολιτικό Σύστημα και Εξωτερική Πολιτική 1945-2002. Εκδόσεις Ποιότητα. Αθήνα 2002.