Essay Questions

Section A:

A1. List and discuss why we study comparative politics. How does its subject matter differ from that of International Relations? In what sense can comparative politics be considered a science?

A2. Compare and contrast David Easton’s “political system” theory and Gabriel Almond’s “Structural-functional system” approach. List and briefly discuss the major functions (11 in all) of political system suggested by Almond and his colleagues. Why is it important to examine political functions rather than political structures? Finally, discuss the possible contributions and critiques of this theory.

A3. Political culture literature indicates that three major cultural orientations are defined by citizen’s role in the political process. Identify these three and explain the relationship between the distribution of these orientations and the type of political system that we can expect.

A4. Explain the differences between PR (proportional representation) and WTA (Winner Take All) electoral system. What is the relationship between electoral system and party system? In your opinion, which state’s party system will change dramatically with the introduction of new electoral system? Select a country as an example and justify your selection.

Section B:

B1. Why does the author call England a “deviant” case in comparative politics? In your answer, be sure to compare and contrast the history of England and France to support your argument.

B2. Discuss the Chinese revolutionary development under the leadership of Mao Zedong. Your answer must include the explanation of two Maoist experiments, Great Leap Forward and Culture Revolution. Why Mao started these and what’s the consequence of each?

B3. How does the history of Brazil differ from her Spanish-speaking neighbors like Argentina or Mexico? How does this affect contemporary worldviews of Brazil and her foreign policy?

B4. Discuss the relationship between Iran’s history, particularly the death of Imam Husayn, the 1953 overthrow of Mossadegh and the Iran-Iraq War, and how it relates to the conspiratorial nature of Iranian political culture. Finally, how does Iran’s political culture affect its position in the international system?