Summer 2019 - POL 436 D100

Elections, Parties and Governments in Comparative Perspectives (4)

Class Number: 4606

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Wed, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Eight upper division units in political science or permission of the department.



An examination of the processes by which governments are created, maintained, and destroyed in democratic systems. The effects of different regime types, electoral arrangements, and party systems will be highlighted.


This course examines the causes and consequences of institutional rules and structures in democracies. We will discuss how democracies translate voter preferences to government formation through electoral systems, how political parties interact with society, other parties, and electoral rules, and how constitutions separate and divide state power. Our main goal is to understand and assess the effects of these rules on democratic values of representation and effective governance.

The course is comparative in focus and will be in ‘seminar’ format. Students should expect to be active participants in class, and discussions will be student-led. There will be one four-hour session weekly.


  • Seminar Participation 20%
  • Reading Summaries 35%
  • Article Presentations 15%
  • Research Proposal + Peer Critique 10%
  • Research Paper 20%



Lijphart, Arend. Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries, 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.
ISBN: 9780300172027

This book is accessible electronically through the SFU library. It is also available online at relatively inexpensive prices. Other readings will be available online.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.