Governing the New Europe

POLS3520 Governing the New Europe

-last taught Winter 2017-

This course examines government and politics in Europe. It considers structures and process of governance at the national, sub-national and supra-national level. We will study different patterns of development and the changing nature of democracy in Europe. We will draw on historical and current trends to consider similarities and differences in political and social institutions, political culture and economic forces. Evolutionary changes in governance structures and responsibilities have made it increasingly difficult to separate national politics and policy-making from supra-national policy in Europe. It is no longer possible to analyze the political systems of the nation state without considering the role of the European Union. And, conversely, it is nearly impossible to understand the EU and its
international influence without an understanding of the politics and political systems of the individual member states. In this course, our focus is on governing the “new” Europe – as it has developed after the end of the Cold War. We will consider the continent both in terms of its parts (the individual countries) and as a whole.

Throughout this course, we will analyze topics that are of particular salience today, including “Euroscepticism” and the rejection of the “establishment”; changing demands of democratic governance and the so-called “democratic deficit” in European institutions; the rise of populist parties in various European countries; rising levels of racism and xenophobia; and the challenges of diversity and the integration of refugees.
In this course students will:
• gain an understanding of the differences and similarities of European democratic systems;
• identify and assess key social, political and historical factors shaping European politics;
• recognize and evaluate the complex relationship between national and supranational
policy making in western Europe;
• gain an overview of key challenges and debates currently taking place in Europe.