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About this book

John McCormick joins Rod Hague and Martin Harrop as co-author for the 10th edition of this renowned and bestselling textbook. Taking a thematic approach to Comparative Politics, it introduces students to the key concepts, structures and arguments that will enable them to successfully compare political systems across the globe. Taking full account of the different institutions of government and political cultures that exist around the world, the authors offer detailed analysis of a range of democracies and authoritarian regimes. In addition, an array of carefully-designed pedagogical features equip students with the tools and critical mind-set to explore debates and spark discussion.

With its impressively comprehensive coverage, the book can be used as the sole text for teaching undergraduate courses worldwide on Comparative Politics, Comparative Government, Introduction to Politics and Introduction to Political Science.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Key Concepts

Abstract
The best place to begin the study of any topic is with an exploration of key concepts. Most of the political terms which concern us are embedded in ordinary language;government, politics, power and authority are all familiar terms. But — as we will see — this does not mean that they are easily defined, or that political scientists are agreed on how best to understand or apply them.
Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, John McCormick

Chapter 4. Authoritarian Rule

Abstract
Even though democratic ideas have spread to many parts of the world since 1945, and many people now live in democracies, many states remain authoritarian, with strong rulers and limits placed on the ability of citizens to participate in government. As Brooker (2009: 1) puts it, ‘non-democratic government, whether by elders, chiefs, monarchs, aristocrats, empires, military regimes or one-party states, has been the norm for most of human history’. Certainly, the twentieth century will be remembered at least as much for the dictatorships it spawned — including Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Mao’s China, and Pol Pot’s Cambodia — as for the democratic transitions at its close. And in spite of the spread of democracy, the most prominent authoritarian states remain internationally significant, whether judged by their economic reach (China), as incubators of terrorism (Afghanistan), by their natural resources (Russia), or by their actual or seemingly intended possession of nuclear weapons (Pakistan and Iran).
Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, John McCormick

Chapter 6. Comparing Government and Politics

Abstract
So far we have looked at the conceptual and theoretical aspects of comparative politics. But these only begin to have meaning when we put comparison into practice, for which reason we now turn to the practicalities of comparison: the kinds of questions that need to be asked, the methods that can be used, the options for designing a comparative research project, and the pitfalls to be avoided. This chapter is intended in part to be a survey of methods and in part to be a practical How To guide to the comparative process, giving more insight into the dynamics of that process. The goal is not to cover the details of specific techniques such as interviewing or statistical analysis so much as to provide strategies that will help students working on comparative projects of their own.
Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, John McCormick

Chapter 8. Legislatures

Abstract
Legislatures are the institutions of government that are closest to the citizens, since they are typically directly elected and are often responsible for representing local districts, rather than — as is the case with executives — the entire country. They are thus a key part of representative democracy. But how representation should be ensured or understood is an important question. And the tasks of legislatures go beyond representation, including also deliberation, the approval of legislation, the authorization of expenditure, the making of governments, and oversight of the executive.
Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, John McCormick

Chapter 11. Sub-National Government

Abstract
The comparison of political systems focuses mostly on activities at the national level, but it can just as easily focus on more localized activities, and involve comparison of regional, city, and local governments. The functional equivalents of national executives, legislatures, and courts can all be found at the regional level, at least in federal systems, and no understanding of politics and government in a given state can be complete without looking at the full picture. Unfortunately, sub-national politics tends to attract less interest among voters, who — for example — tend to turn out at regional and local elections in much smaller numbers than at national elections. This is ironic, given that many of the services that most immediately impact their lives come from sub-national government, and local officials are usually more accessible than their national counterparts.
Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, John McCormick

Chapter 13. Political Participation

Abstract
For any democrat, the quality of governance must depend — in large part — on the extent to which citizens participate (or are allowed to participate) in the process of governing. In this chapter we review the many channels through which people can participate in government, ranging from the conventional to the unconventional. Two points will soon become clear. First, the quantity and the quality of participation vary not only between regime types but also within individual countries over time and between its social groups. Even in democracies, participation is far from equal. Second, opinion polls reveal that large numbers of people are either poorly informed about the issues at stake, or choose not to express themselves. And in authoritarian systems, of course, their views and opinions are not usually entertained to begin with.
Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, John McCormick

Chapter 16. Elections

Abstract
Elections lie at the heart of representative democracy. They are the primary means by which most voters connect with government, and they provide the brief moment during which politicians and parties are supplicants rather than supervisors. As liberal democracies have grown in number, so elections have become more widespread and the number of votes cast around the world has grown.
Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, John McCormick

Chapter 18. Interest Groups

Abstract
Where most institutions of government are formally outlined in the constitution, interest groups (like parties) are founded and operate largely outside these formal structures. Their goal — for those that are politically active — is to influence policy without becoming part of government. They come in several types: protective groups work in the material interests of their members, promotional groups advocate ideas and policies of a more general nature, peak associations bring together multiple like-minded groups to help them exploit their numbers, and think-tanks work to shape the policy debate through research. A vibrant interest group community is generally a sign of a healthy civil society but it can also become a barrier to the implementation of the popular will as expressed in elections.
Rod Hague, Martin Harrop, John McCormick
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