You may agree or disagree with the proposition, but in either case you should make an argument about which case study is more effective in dealing with the issue. Your essay should be 2000 words in length. GENERAL COMMENTS AND ADVICE This assessment item is worth 30% of your final marks. The key tasks are to: 1. Select one proposition to discuss o Which do you find most interesting? 2. Select two case studies from this unit o Which two case studies are most appropriate/ relevant for the topic? o Some topics will suit certain case studies better than others o Have you found sufficient resources relating to the case studies and the selected issue? 3. Discuss the proposition by making an argument as to which case study deals with the selected issue more effectively. o Do you agree or disagree with the proposition? Why? o Which case study deals with the issue more effectively? Why 2 SOME KEY BASES OF COMPARISON There are a number of ‘bases of comparison’ generally used in comparative politics. A suggestive – though not complete – list is outlined below. There are many ways to compare/contrast regimes, but you should ONLY focus on those which are relevant to making your argument / discussing your particular proposition. You should also look at the ‘checklist for essays and term papers’ under the assessment tab on blackboard. Some useful bases of comparison in comparative politics are:

• Regime type: how can the political system be broadly characterised?

• Political institutions: what are the key institutions of the political system?

• Branches of government: what is the formal distribution (and/or separation) of powers between executive, legislature and judiciary?

• State capacity: What is the state’s ability to carry out its policies / ensure stability?

• State autonomy: What is the state’s ability to wield power independently of the public?

• Decision-making: who holds formal power? Who holds informal power in the political system?

• Political conflict and competition: How do ruling elites gain power? What is the role of political parties? What is the electoral system?

• Representation: most regimes claim to “represent the will” of the people. What claims does the political system make about this? Are these claim supportable?

• Political participation: what role (or form of participation) do ordinary citizens have in political decision making? What is the role of ‘civil society’?

• Legitimacy: what is the government claim to political legitimacy? What gives rulers the ‘right to rule’ in the eyes of the public? Do traditional authorities have a significant ongoing role?

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