Introduction to Comparative Politics
The past few decades have been marked not only by dramatic political change, but by change that surprised scholars and analysts. The fall of the Soviet Union and the rise of new nationalisms, the expansion of religious politics, the wave of democratization beginning in the 1990s, the end of apartheid, the return of genocide, the Arab Spring. These events have transformed politics. How can we explain them? Comparative politics tackles these questions by considering different explanations – is it about the economy, is it about strategies, is it about history? Is the international situation important, and if so, how does it contribute to the outcome? Working comparatively – by looking at how events happen in more than one nation – is one of the best ways to sharpen our understanding. Our key themes include nationalism, leadership choices, and inclusion of minorities.