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An Introduction To German Politics


Key information

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Module description

The aim of this module is to provide an introduction to the modern German polity. In the first part we survey the historical and cultural contexts in which German politics is embedded. The second part of the module turns to the institutions and policy-making processes in the Federal Republic, including the Europeanization of German governance. The third part focuses on policy content by discussing important issues and policy fields in greater depth.

This module is about key debates and arguments relating to German politics and society. It will be assumed that students familiarise themselves with the basic elements of the German polity. This implies not only good preparation for each week’s topic by reading the core literature but also an awareness of current events. Apart from reading the core texts you should thus keep up to date with current political issues on Germany, using the press and internet. There is no sense in familiarising you with abstract decision and policy-making processes if you cannot apply these procedures to day-to-day politics.

By the end of the module, you will be able to demonstrate a sound understanding of the German polity, politics and key policies. You will have significantly enhanced your skills in critically analysing and discussing the historical, cultural and institutional background as well as current developments in German politics and society. Also, the module will further develop your ability to independently prepare and deliver presentations on complex political issues. The module is taught and assessed in English.

*Please note that module information is indicative and may change from year to year.

Assessment details

One 15 minute presentation (15%) & one 2000 word essay (85%)

Teaching pattern

2 hours per week

Suggested reading list

  • D. P. Conradt: The German Polity (New York, Pearson Longman, 2009).
  • S. Green, D. Hough, A. Miskimmon: The Politics of the New Germany(Abigdon, Routledge, 2012).
  • S. Padget, W. E. Paterson and G. Smith, eds., Developments in German Politics (Basingstoke, Palgrave, 2003).
  • M. G. Schmidt: Political Institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany(Oxford, OUP, 2005).
  • Articles in the journal German Politics (Taylor & Francis).