SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Frameworks of Political Analysis

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 1

The module presents a critical overview of core concepts and debates in comparative politics as well as an introduction into the comparative method. Drawing on comparative politics debate developed in the West, the module primarily focuses on non-Western regions of the world.

Concretely, this course takes a historical and comparative approach across time and space. The purpose of this class is to give students the opportunity to learn a wide range of concepts in comparative politics and to explore them in the context of Asia. To study such an immense and diverse region poses daunting intellectual challenges: This course seeks to achieve two main objectives: 1) to integrate Asian studies with mainstream broad theoretical themes such as state-building, social movements, political party systems, revolution, democratization and rule of law; and 2) to examine the varieties of Asian concepts of political authority, contentious politics and political economy.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  • Teach students to evaluate and ‘test’ a broad range of concepts and theories that arise from both outside and within the regions.
  • Show students how to present ideas and explore important concepts in writing and through presentations.


1 hour Lecture per week

1 hour Seminar per week

Scope and syllabus

  1. Comparative politics and studying the developing world
  2. The comparative method and its critics
  3. Spatiality and politics: Studying Regions
  4. Colonialism and Colonial Legacies
  5. Post-Colonial Revolution and Resistance
  6. Regime Type: Democracy and Authoritarianism
  7. Democratic Transitions and Hybrid Regimes
  8. Contentious politics: Civil Society and the State
  9. Religion and the State
  10. Future Research Directions

Method of assessment

Assessment is 100% coursework (one 5000 word essay).

Suggested reading

  • Mark T. Berger, “After the Third World? History, destiny and the fate of Third Worldism,” Third World Quarterly Vol. 25, No. 1 (2004), pp. 9-39.
  • Paul Cammack, Capitalism and democracy in the Third World: The doctrine for political development (Leicester University Press, 1997), pp. 1-62.
  • Frances Hagopian, “Political development, revisited,” Comparative political studies Vol. 33, No. 6-7 (2000), pp. 880-911.
  • Peter A. Hall and Rosemary CR Taylor, "Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms," Political studies Vol.44, No. 5 (1996), pp. 936-957.
  • Atul Kohli et al, “The Role of Theory in Comparative Politics,” World Politics, Vol. 48, No. 1 (1995), pp. 1-49.
  • Robert Malley, The Call from Algeria: Third Worldism, Revolution, and the Turn to Islam (University of California Press, 1996), pp. 17-33.
  • James Manor, Rethinking third world politics (Longman Pub Group, 1991), Introduction, Chp. 3.
  • Vicky Randall, “Using and abusing the concept of the Third World: Geopolitics and the comparative political study of development and underdevelopment,” Third World Quarterly Vol. 25, No. 1 (2004), pp. 41-53.
  • Vicky Randall and Robin Theobald R. Political Change and Underdevelopment: A Critical Introduction to Third World Politics (Macmillan, 1998), pp. 1-44.
  • Clive Brian Smith, Understanding Third World politics: Theories of political change and development (Indiana University Press, 2003), pp. 1-22, 275-283.
  • Various authors, “After the Third World?” Third World Quarterly (Special Issue) Vol. 25, No. 2004.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules