This course aims to follow up on the course PSIR 212 by analysing case study examples of functioning political systems of varying types and dispositions in the contemporary world. In other words, having garnered an appreciation of the theoretical aspects of comparative politics, we now turn to their practical application. Close observation of a country’s history, constitution and institutional set-up will reveal for example how: its powers are separated; its parties are formed; its people participate in selecting its government; the state relates to its economy; the public attitude to government; and so on. We shall investigate a number of different countries with the intention of illustrating those factors different countries have in common and those which are largely unique to that particular country, and to explain, with recourse to history, sociology and culture, why these similarities and differences exist. Indeed, attention to a state’s development over time is intended to serve as a means to understand the often profound differences, but also in certain instances similarities and parallels, between states. We shall also acquaint ourselves during the course of our weekly investigations with some fundamentally important terms and concepts commonly referred to in the analysis of politics, such as: federal systems, centralist systems, parliamentary and presidential systems, executive government, political processes, democratic systems, pressure politics and lobbyists, and so forth. Our case study countries will be the USA, the United Kingdom, France and Iran. These have been selected to offer a representative sample of the diverse ways in which political systems are constituted and the diverse ways in which they function. We shall be spending two weeks on each of our case studies. We firstly consider the historical development of the state in question in order to show how we have ‘arrived’ at particular institutional and constitutional arrangements and practical conditions. We then turn in the second part of the case study topic to consider exactly how the political system is constituted and operates, as we might observe it today.