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Comparative Politics Group

A vibrant cluster of political scientists conducting research on questions in contemporary politics

Building on Kent’s strong tradition in comparative politics, the Comparative Politics Research Group, established in 2010, is a vibrant cluster of political scientists conducting research on some of the most pressing questions in contemporary politics.

Examples include: What explains successful democratisation? What are the conditions for federalism? How do constitutional rules shape politicians’ behaviour? How does inequality affect politics? Does European integration lead to state restructuring? Why has trust in politics declined?

We conduct research in the following main areas:

  • Democracy and democratisation: democratisation in post-communist countries; democracy and federalism; political institutions and democratic performance; mass media and democratisation; democracy and nationality.
  • Constitutional and institutional structures: constitutional choice and effects of constitutions; federalism; devolution and state restructuring; political institutions and politicians’ behaviour.
  • Political behaviour, attitudes and identities: public opinion; inequality and political behaviour; trust in political institutions, politicians and policies; migrants’ attitudes and behaviour; majority and minority nationalism.
  • Policy analysis: economic policy and redistribution; environmental policy; Europeanisation; immigration policy.

The Group convenes a fortnightly Comparative Politics Workshop, in which staff and doctoral researchers discuss their work in progress, and sponsors comparative politics-focussed sessions on the School-wide SPIRRS seminar series. It hosts the Centre for Federal Studies, the only research centre devoted to the study of federalism in the UK, and the Centre for Swiss Politics, a Kent-based international network of experts.

The Group coordinates the teaching of comparative politics at the undergraduate level and is responsible for the MA in Comparative Politics and the PhD in Comparative Politics.