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Introducing Comparative Politics

Introducing Comparative Politics
The Essentials

Additional resources:

November 2017 | 464 pages | CQ Press

For Introducing Comparative Politics: The Essentials, the driving force is the pluralist, objective stance on introducing students to core concepts in Comparative Politics. The authors introduce key comparative questions while providing equal strengths and weaknesses of commonly debated theories, structures, and beliefs that push students beyond memorization of country profiles and ever-changing statistics and generate in-class debate over key concepts used in the science of comparative politics. While detailed case studies can go in-depth on specific countries and political systems, Introducing Comparative Politics: The Essentials, distills its country material into paragraph-long examples woven seamlessly into the narrative of the text, increasing diverse global awareness, current-event literacy, and critical-thinking skills.


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Part I: A Framework for Understanding Comparative Politics
Chapter 1: Introduction
The Big Issues

Comparative Politics: What Is It? Why Study It? How to Study It?

Three Key Questions in Comparative Politics

Chapter 2: The Modern State
Characteristics of the Modern State

Historical Origins of Modern States

Strong, Weak, and Failed States

Chapter 3: States, Citizens, and Regimes
Citizens and Civil Society

Regimes, Ideologies, and Citizens

Chapter 4: States and Identity
Understanding Identity

The Policy Debate

Nations and Nationalism



Religion: Recognition, Autonomy, and the Secular State

Gender and Sexual Orientation: The Continuing Struggle for Recognition, Social Status, and Representation

Part II: Political Systems and How They Work
Chapter 5: Governing Institutions in Democracies
Executives and Legislatures

Comparing Executive-Legislative Institutions




Chapter 6: Institutions of Participation and Representation in Democracies
The Electoral System

Formal Institutions: Political Parties and Party Systems

Civil Society

Chapter 7: Contentious Politics: Social Movements, Political Violence, and Revolution
Framing Contentious Politics

Political Violence


Chapter 8: Authoritarian Institutions
Authoritarian Rule around the World

Governing Institutions in Authoritarian Regimes

Elections, Parties, and Civil Society in Authoritarian Regimes

Chapter 9: Regime Change
The Military in Politics: Coups d'État



Part III: Political Economy and Policy
Chapter 10: Political Economy of Wealth
The Market, Capitalism, and the State

Key Economic Debates

Types of Capitalist Economies

Globalization: A New World Order, or Déjà Vu All Over Again?

Chapter 11: Political Economy of Development
What Is "Development"?

Development and Globalization

The Development Debate

Chapter 12: Public Policies When Markets Fail: Welfare, Health, and the Environment
"Welfare": Social Policy in Comparative Perspective

Health Care and Health Policy

Environmental Problems and Policy



Student Study site

SAGE EDGE FOR STUDENTS enhances learning, it’s easy to use, and offers:

  • eFlashcards that strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts, and make it easy to maximize student study time, anywhere, anytime
  • eQuizzes that allow students to assess how much they’ve learned and where they need to focus your attention
  • Web and data links that appeal to diverse learners 
Instructor's Resource site
  • An instructor’s manual that features chapter overviews and objectives, lecture starters, ideas for class activities, discussion questions, and country backgrounders that offer basic information on all eleven core countries featured in the book.
  • A TA Guide that provides guidance for graduate students and newer instructors who will benefit from a set of goals, points for review, and discussion questions for each chapter.
  • Assessment tools that foster review, practice, and critical thinking, and offer a more complete way to measure student engagement, including:
  • Test banks built on Bloom’s Taxonomy that provide a diverse range of test items
  • Activity and quiz options that allow you to choose only the assignments and tests you want
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides that offer flexibility when creating multimedia lectures so you don’t have to start from scratch but you can customize to your exact needs
  • All tables and figures from the textbook

“I think the discussion of government systems is one of the most challenging topics in this class for students. The chapter does a great job presenting theory, explaining concepts, giving examples and comparing systems. I would assign it to my students as required reading without hesitation.”

Anca Turcu
University of Central Florida

 “It is an exceptionally good idea that the themes of the book are also presented in the case study analysis, which will help students see these concepts in action.  My current text focuses on one aspect of our thematic analysis for each case, but I would like a text that I can use to highlight key themes throughout the case, rather than a singular focus.”

Season Hoard
Washington State University

“I strongly believe there is a need for such a textbook. The quality of Volume I (as suggested by Chapter 6), its tight and organized presentation, and its effective embedding of the “need-to-know” questions in the existing and well-referenced scholarly literature suggests it would be a major contribute to the textbook market in comparative politics.  The separating out of the cases from the thematic coverage through the two-volume format would give many instructors more of a choice.  I like that!”

Thomas D. Lancaster
Emory University

presented information on theory, process, procedures in a readable & understandable format

Dr Donna Scemons
Health and Human Services, California St Univ-Los Angeles
January 11, 2018
Key features


  • Chapter-opening key questions help students focus on the key issues as they read the chapter and encourage debate in class. The chapters sometimes provide conclusive answers to the key questions, but more often they show students different ways the questions can be answered or approached.
  • Multiple “In Context” features in every chapter illustrate basic data about the chapter topics so students can set that idea into a comparative (and sometimes provocative) context.
  • Critical Inquiry features highlight methodological issues in comparative politics, providing a gateway for empirical study and analysis.
  • More than a hundred full color tables, figures, and maps help students visualize comparative data and better understand concepts. 
  • End-of-chapter lists of key concepts with page references are included to help students to easily study and review the concepts, and a list of works cited and a list of important print and electronic references offer students resources for further research.

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