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Department of Comparative Politics

Studies in comparative politics

The discipline Comparative Politics provides the student with specific and comprehensive knowledge of political relations in a number of countries. Emphasis is placed upon political development and political relations in Europe.

During the education in comparative politics enables the student to find the relevant documents and data, to write a credible analysis and account of the field's questions. Being trained in methodology enables the student to ask the relevant questions. Emphasis is placed upon political development and political relations in Europe since a solid understanding about one's own culture and history is usually a necessary condition to be able to study political relations in other parts of the world. The European process of integration, furthermore, heightens the need to increase the understanding of Europe in Norwegian society.

The comparative study of constitutions, regimes and political processes has roots that reach back to Aristotle. In the last generation, comparative research of political systems, political structures and political evolution has increased greatly both in breadth and depth: it includes societies on all levels of development in all civilisations. Comparative Politics is an analytical field which seeks to understand societies and political institutions through both diachronic and synchronic perspectives.

The way the discipline has been structured in Bergen makes it possible to study both the Norwegian political system and processes and political systems in other countries. The approach is done in an analytical perspective of development processes and conflict structures, such as mass mobilisation, party growth and organisation development. Emphasis is placed on differences within each country, e.g. on geographic, economic and cultural contrasts. Furthermore, there is a strong emphasis in the direction of political sociology; with a distinctive underscoring of the links between distribution of economic resources, social structures and political processes.

For a more detailed content of the study, please check the plan of study and list of readings for each of the three levels of study.