Chair of Comparative Politics

Welcome to the Chair of Comparative Politics of the University of Zurich.

Comparative politics is one of the main subfields in political science and its central concern is the study of different political systems world-wide. Its focus is on:

  • Political structures, state institutions, socio-economic groups (classes), cultural differences (religion and ethnicity) and territorial governance;
  • Actors such as political parties, interest groups, social movements and other organizations (military, church, etc.);
  • Processes of national identity-formation, forms of political participation, electoral behaviour, political cultures and political communication.

The scientific goal of comparative politics is theoretical and empirical, namely to describe, explain and predict cross-country differences and trends over time. Its levels of analysis are multiple, from individual-level analysis of attitudes and behaviour (for both citizens and politicians), to meso-level of analysis such as organizations and to macro-level of analysis such as the dynamics and functioning of political systems (local, regional and national).

Theoretically, comparative politics relies on structuralist, institutionalist, cultural, rational choice and behavioural approaches.

Methodologically, comparative politics relies on various types of analyses: quantitative econometric methods, qualitative comparative analysis (Boolean algebra), case studies among others.