Department of Government

Comparative Politics

A significant proportion of the research projects run by the Department of Government are of a comparative character. The name of a discipline or a subject specialization may describe what is defined by a geographical area (e.g. “Swedish politics”) and sometimes by a particular view of the method. “Comparative politics” expresses the latter – the term “comparative politics” describes first and foremost a methodological approach.

A large number of the department’s graduate students describe “cases” of political importance on the assumption that we increase our understanding of them if we compare results and test how far generalizations hold good. Often we make the comparison ourselves but equally often we present individual cases that can then be placed in a comparative context. The common starting point is the same – that at some stage we will draw comparisons to bring out similarities or contrasts and thus improve our understanding of what drives political processes.

Because of this methodological affinity our projects sometimes crop up within other specializations. We have to accept subject definitions that sometimes overlap to quite a degree. Despite this we can place a number of project specializations that have prominent comparative features under the following headings.