This is the web page of the course Global Comparative Politics offered to the students of the MA (Laurea Magistrale LM-81) Public and Cultural Diplomacy

Luca Verzichelli (

Course assistants:
Rossella Borri (
Alice Cavalieri (

Polo Mattioli, Università di Siena

Lecture Hours and Room:
Wednesday, 6 p.m. 8 p.m., Aula 3b
Thursday, 6 p.m. 8 p.m., Aula 3a
Friday, 4 p.m – 6 p.m., Aula 3a

The course starts on November 22, 2016, and ends on January 30, 2017

EXERCISE IN CLASS Friday 3 February 2017 at 12.00. Room to be announced!

This course provides a general overview on the current state of current political regimes, focusing in particular on the processes of democratization, the state of democracy in different areas of the world, and the main challenges to contemporary democracy.
A number of relevant issues and questions will be raised. For instance, what are the key elements of today’s democracy? What kind of non-democratic regimes or semi-democratic regimes can be considered as relevant features of the current scenario?
The course covers these and many other issues by utilizing the recent literature of comparative politics. That is to say, the findings of the discipline of political science applied to the empirical comparative analysis of contemporary political systems.  More in details, the course will be built on the bases of four teaching blocs:

  • The nature of comparative politics and the comparative study of democracy
  • The shape of democracy in the classic Western hemisphere
  • The current democratic experiences in other world  areas
  • The challenges to current democracies: mediatisation, populism, Globalization, and immigration

Although this is not a specialist course in political science, a basic knowledge of the discipline is required. The course will provide skills and information for anyone looking for a robust knowledge of the major issues in contemporary comparative politics and some practical abilities in analyzing the data and the trends concerning the changes within the current political systems today. In times of deep social and political transformations, these skills are important not only for perspective scholars but, also, for an increasing number of public servants and professionals who want to pursue a career in media, national and supranational GOs, international agencies, governmental and multilateral organizations, non-profit organizations and international corporations.

Assignments and Evaluation:
Students are expected to keep up with the required readings and to attend all the classes. Absences will have to be justified. Starting with the second week of the course, at least one student will have to introduce the topic of each lesson, reporting on one or more readings.
Students’ evaluation will be based for about 20% on attendance and participation in class. For about 40% on the presentations and on the final exercise performed in class and for about 40% on a term paper of about 6500/7000 words to be delivered by the end of the term.
The term paper will have to be prepared on one of the general questions discussed during the course. Either an empirical country-case paper (an analysis of one case study or a limited comparative analysis in a given geopolitical area) or a review-based paper will be accepted.
The abstract of the proposed papers will be discussed during the last meetings in class.
Non-attending students will be admitted to an oral exam. They will have to contact the instructor well in advance to agree on an adequate bibliography. The use or at least one introductory textbook (see background readings, below) will be compulsory for these students. Moreover, they will have to report on one or two volumes from the list of the recommended readings in order to pass the exam.

Syllabus GCP