Politics & Society in Germany
3-week course, second summer session
The course offers a survey of the German political system, with an emphasis on some of its peculiar, unique features and institutions. To enable participants to get a deeper understanding of their practical relevance and real-life consequences, we will look at them from three perspectives: (1) we will compare them with their counterparts in the US system, (2) we will discuss their rationale (historical, cultural, ideological ...), and (3) we will consider the relationship between social forces and politics in Germany, among other things by way of analyzing some recent public debates about political issues and scandals in Germany.
You will thus acquire systematic factual knowledge about the German political and social system, including some of its less obvious, but nonetheless important elements. In addition, you will learn to understand why the German system and the German political culture are so different from those in the US, and why many Germans tend to think that this is a desirable difference. And last, but not least, you will acquire, or deepen your knowledge of, the German vocabulary and way of speaking about political and social issues, including idiomatic peculiarities. (1 unit)
Required Texts: Manfred G. Schmidt, "Das politische System Deutschlands", 2nd ed. Munich: C. H. Beck 2011 (1st ed. 2007)