Why is comparative politics important

Master of Arts in Political Science
with a focus on comparative political science

Brief overview

The major in comparative political science is primarily concerned with

  • Systems of government and their structures (e.g. parliaments and governments),
  • collective political actors (e.g. parties and associations)
  • political processes of convergence and divergence (e.g. diffusion and learning processes within federal states or the European Union)

Geographically, the focus of the courses is on the Member states of the European Union and the liberal democracies of the Anglo-Saxon-speaking area. The first thing in the courses is to Instruments for precise description of observed political phenomena as well Typologies for their empirical classification to work out and to reflect critically on the methods. However, there are two key questions in the foreground:

  • What are the political reasons for the similarities and differences between states, regions or actors?
  • What are the consequences of certain forms of government and institutions for governance practice and the quality of the political process?

Comparative Political Science is methodical decidedly empirically oriented and guided by medium-range institutional theories. Advanced quantitative methods as well as detailed qualitative individual case studies (e.g. in the form of process analyzes) or methods for analyzing average case numbers (such as “Qualitative Configurative Analysis” - QCA) are used in teaching and research.

The research and teaching profile

The broad range of studies in the field of comparative political science includes above all research-oriented events on the following subject areas:

  • Theory and empiricism of political institutions
  • Legislation and organization of parliaments (political groups, committees)
  • Conduct of parliamentarians in plenary and in committees
  • Political representation and integration, especially of citizens with a migration and minority background
  • Political diffusion and learning processes

Students have the opportunity to work with scientists who publish their research results in international journals and are leaders externally funded national and international research projects contribute. This has two advantages: On the one hand, the results of this research flow into teaching. On the other hand, students receive early access to primary data for their own theses.

Main publications and externally funded research projects in the field of comparative political science are:

Political representation of citizens with a migration background

  • Externally funded project:
    “Paths to Power: The Political Representation of Citizens with a Migration Background in Seven European Democracies”, German Research Foundation, € 612,087, 2014-2017). This is a sub-project of a larger research network with the Universities of Amsterdam and Leicester and Sciences Po in Paris, more information at www.pathways.eu.

  • Thomas Saalfeld and Daniel Bischof: ‘Minority-Ethnic MPs and the Substantive Representation of Minority Interests in the House of Commons, 2005–2011. ' Parliamentary Affairs, Vol. 66, H. 2 (2013), pp. 305-328.
  • Andreas M. Wüst and Thomas Saalfeld: ‘MPs with a migration background in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Sweden: Opportunities and policy priorities.’ In: Political quarterly, special issue 44/2010 “Politics as a profession”, Ed. By Michael Edinger and Werner J. Patzelt, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2011, pp. 312-333.