Unit 2: The Nation-State
In the discipline of comparative politics, we explore how and why nations change, how and why governments compare to governments in different parts of the world, and patterns and irregularities among political systems. Before we can begin making these comparisons, we need to understand the basic unit of comparative political study: the nation-state.
Why do we need the nation-state? How does the concept of sovereignty tie into the history and characteristics of the state? How has the nation-state evolved since its origin in 1648? Is there an optimum form of state rule? And finally, is the modern nation state static or evolving in its form and function?
In Unit 2, we examine the history and thinking behind the modern nation state through the contributions of the philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Max Weber. We discuss how states developed, challenges to state sovereignty, and compare totalitarian and authoritarian forms of government.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.