Comparative Politics – BA specialization
Group of lectures aim at empirical and theoretical analyses with respect to the interactions between political and societal actors within the institutional arrangements that characterize not only representative democracy. We have set out to analyses these interactions in parliamentary and presidential democratic politics and in nondemocratic states (hybrid regimes) and their impact on public policy formation and related performance. One of the main aims is to explain the format and consequences of democratic politics and non-democratic forms of activity under socially diverse situations and varying economic circumstances. On one side we focus on the democratic state and its political performance in the context of societal changes to understand the capacity of contemporary democracies to solve their problems and on other side we are interested in non-democratic states where it appears that turbulence and turmoil characterizes the relations between politics and society and all aspects of politics appears to be in a situation of flux.
The point of departure of our lectures is that institutional arrangements of representative democracies are to be considered as variables that vary across the various polities as well over time. We hold the view that these variations in institutional arrangements influence the behavior of relevant actors – representing societal interests – and thus the room of actors to manoeuvre in reaching viable modes of policy formation. These institutions – like the electoral system, the party system, types of government – shape the patterns of interactions. But we must remember that there are formal and informal rules of democratic polity which define the room to manoeuvre. In effect in each polity appears so called political chain of command and control having democratic or non-democratic character. Such chain of command is responsible for relations between various actors and institutions and policy performance.
Political institutionalisation is central topic of our comparative analyses. Institutionalization refers to the effective establishment of state authority over society through specially created political structures and organs. Political institutionalization is a state-building process and mutual relations between state and society. It is important stage in political development, and involves the extent to which the entire polity is 2 organized as a system of interacting relationships, first among the offices and agencies of the government, and then among the various groups and interests seeking to make demands upon the system, and finally in the relationships between officials and citizens. In essence, institutionalization determines the extent of the strength of the nexus between state and society. Political institutionalization takes place through several mechanisms and at various levels. Greater bonds between state and society, the less likely it is for political alternatives to gain hold. Conversely, the more fluid relations (nexuses), the higher is probability of political change and the less permanent are state structures likely to be. Institutionalization occurs:
- In the context of development of norms and codes of conduct, the rules of the game among political actors and institutions;
- In the context of appearance of various institutions that link the political system to the various strata of society;
- In the context of relations giving impetus to development of political regime;
- In the context of the role of the bureaucratic apparatus as one of the agents of political institutionalization.