SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Political Parties and Elections

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 2
Taught in:
Term 2

This module introduces electoral and party politics in modern democracies. It will involve the discussion of a wide range of theoretical approaches to the study of parties and elections and assess their applicability to non western cases.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Understand the functioning of democratic parties
  • Analyse how parties compete for votes
  • Understand the effect of different electoral systems
  • Test a range of political theories on parties and elections


1 hour lecture per week

1 hour seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

  1. Introduction to Political Parties
  2. Party Change: Organization
  3. Party Change: Ideological
  4. Party System Change
  5. Small and Movement Parties
  6. Political Campaigning and Marketing
  7. Political Advertising
  8. Electoral Systems
  9. Voting Behaviour
  10. Referendums
  11. Gender in Party and Electoral Politics

Method of assessment

Assessment is 90% coursework (one 1000 word essay worth 10% and one 3000 word essay worth 80%) and 10% oral presentation.

Suggested reading

  • LeDuc, Niemi and Norris, Comparing Democracies: Elections and Voting in a Changing World (Sage)
  • Caramani, Daniele. (2011) Comparative politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Alan Ware. (1996) Political parties and party systems, Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • McNair, An Introduction to Political Communication (Routledge 2011)
  • Lees-Marchment, Principles and Applications (Routledge 2009)
  • Evans, Voters and Voting: An Introduction (Sage 2003)


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules