Local and Regional Democracy in Multilevel Norway and Europe



Mål og innhald

This course will provide an introduction into the field of territorial politics. Students will discuss the literature that studies the effects of subnational institutions and the subnational geographical context on political behaviour, processes, and outcomes such as citizen opinions, voters, elections, parties, governments, and public policy. Particular attention will be paid to the literature that deals with voters, elections, parties, and representatives at the local and regional levels in Norway and other European countries. Students will read and discuss important arguments and research findings from different perspectives within the territorial politics literature and they will develop their own arguments on the questions whether and how territorial politics is reshaping democracy in European multilevel countries.

An unique feature of this course is that students will write an independent research paper in which they draw on three major data collections of the Strengthening Regional Democracy project. First, the Comparative Regional Government Dataset which includes aggregate socio-economic, institutional, party, and election variables for 392 regions nested in 23 European countries for 1950 to 2020. Second, the Comparative Regional Voter Dataset which merges 410 regional elections surveys conducted in 68 regions in 8 countries. Third, Norwegian survey data from the Panel of Regional and Local Voters and the Panel of Regional and Local Politicians. 


After successfully completing the course, students have obtained the following learning outcomes defined in knowledge (kunnskap), skills (ferdigheter), and general competence (generell kompetanse):


The student 

  • have general knowledge of the main arguments and key findings of the territorial politics literature
  • have advanced knowledge of the literature that focuses on how territorial politics affects voters, elections, parties, and representatives
  • have in-depth knowledge of the critique posed by 'methodological nationalism' scholars 


The student  

  • are able to apply the concept of 'methodological nationalism' to a wide range of political behaviours, processes, and outcomes 
  • are able to independently write a research paper that identifies a relevant research problem 
  • are able to thoroughly implement a theoretically informed research design and methodology in a research paper
  • are able to effectively and efficiently present the results of an empirical analysis in a research paper
  • are able to identify the wider implications of the research findings 

General competence

The student

  • can effectively find, process, summarise, compare, and communicate advanced and relevant academic literature on territorial politics  
  • can develop, implement, and execute a research design and methodology in a research paper 
  • can contribute to new thinking and innovation in various fields of comparative politics

Studiepoeng, omfang


Studienivå (studiesyklus)



Spring - irregular
Krav til forkunnskapar
Tilrådde forkunnskapar
Krav til studierett

The course is open for students who have been accepted into the Master's program in comparative politics.

Guest students at the master level may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

The maximum number of students in this course is 15 students. The first 15 students to register for the course are admitted.

Arbeids- og undervisningsformer
Lectures, seminars and individual meetings
Obligatorisk undervisningsaktivitet

Research proposal of maximum 1500 words.

The approval of compulsory assignment has no time limit.


Research paper of maximum 6000 words.

The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught.

The exam can be submitted in English. It is also possible to submit in Norwegian, Swedish or Danish.

Grading A-F

Assessment in teaching semester

A retake exam for either parts of the exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 of the Study Regulations at UiB. If a retake exam are arranged for students with valid absence, students with the following results can also register:

  • Interruption during the exam
  • Fail/Not passed

If you qualify for the retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence, you can register yourself in Studentweb after August 1.

The reading list will be ready before 1 July for the autumn semester and 1 Decemeber for the spring semester. 
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.  
Administrativt ansvarleg
The Department of Comparative Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.