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Political Science 2017/2018

  • 7 ECTS
  • Taught in Portuguese
  • Continuous Assessment


By the end of the semester, students should be able to:

1. Define the concept of Politics;

2. Describe the historical evolution of the State;

3. Identify political regimes and systems of governments:

4. Distinguish the constitutive elements of the democratic process;

5. Identify vectors of continuity and rupture in politics

Recommended Prerequisites

No pre-requisites.

Teaching Metodology

The learning process in this unit is based on a differentiation between lectures (theorical) and seminar (practical) sessions.

Lectures will privilege the definition of conceptual frameworks through the expositive method.
Seminar (or practical) sessions will put an emphasis on the debate of concepts studied on theoretical classes and based on previously selected texts that problematize this concepts.

Body of Work

1. Power, politics and legitimacy
a. Politics and policies
b. Politics and technocracy
c. Theories of politics: functionalism, marxism and public choice

2. The modern state and its transformations
a. The modern rupture
b. The liberal state
c. Reactions to the failure of liberalism: communism, fascism and the welfare state

3. Organized representation through political parties
a. Cadre parties, mass parties and catch-all parties
b. Party systems

4. Government systems: parliamentarism, presidentialism and their nuanced forms
a. Collaboration or separation of powers
b. Classical vs rationalized parliamentarism
c. The presidential system and presidentialist adulterations

5. The limits of representative democracy and participative democracy

Recommended Bibliography

Canas, V. (1992) Preliminares do estudo da Ciência Política. Macau: Publicações O Direito.

Pasquino, G. (2002) Curso de Ciência Política. Cascais: Principia. 1ª ed. ISBN: 9728500637

Porta, D. (2003) Introdução à Ciência Política. Lisboa: Estampa. ISBN: 9723318393

Complementary Bibliography

Hansen, Mogens H. (1992) The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes: Structure, Principles and Ideology. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN: 1631180176

Santos, B. e Nunes, J. A. (2004) “Introduction: Democracy, Participation and Grassroots Movements in Contemporary Portugal”, South European Society and Politics, 9:2, pp. 1-15

Outros artigos a definir

Weekly Planning

Week 1
Presentation of the objectives and programmatic contents. Methodological indications.

Week 2
What are politics?

Week 3
The modern state and how its transformations

Week 5
Theories of the modern state

Week 6
Main ideological theories

Week 7
Democracy and its current contents

Week 8
Written test

Week 9
Organized representation through political parties

Week 10
Continuation of the topic of the previous lecture

Week 11
Systems of government - parliamentarism, presidentialism and its variants

Week 12
Continuation of the topic of the previous lecture

Week 13
The limits of representative democracy and participatory democracy

Week 14
Politics in the age of globalization

Week 15
Written test

Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The structure of the course aims to give students the mentioned knowledge and skills.

In this way, objective 1 (to define the concept of Policy) will be achieved through the study of point 1 of the programmatic contents. Objective 2 (to describe the historical evolution of the State) will be achieved through point 2. Objective 3 (to identify political regimes and systems of governance) will be achieved by the study of points 3 and 4, as well as objective 4 (to distinguish the constituent elements of the democratic process). Finally, objective 5 (to identify vectors of continuity and disruption in the political exercise) will be achieved with point 5.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The differentiation between lectures and seminar sessions intends to facilitate the acquisition of the competences above referred. On the one side, both methodologies facilitate the acquisition of the mentioned cognitive competences. On the other side, the debate in the seminar sessions of texts previously selected facilitates the acquisition of argumentative competences, trains the students capacities in bibliographic research and literature review and in information selection and stimulates an adequate performance in terms of answering the challenge of sustaining a position in a public debate between non-optimal and complex arguments.

relevant generic skillimproved?assessed?
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