PO 229 - The Political Geography of the New Europe
After the recent enlargements of the EU, Austria and her capital, Vienna, are a central vantage point from which the political geography of Europe and its variations of national political cultures can be profitably studied (and visited): The course will be conducted in front of a large map of contemporary Europe and will be moving from closer to farther areas, both providing special orientation as well as comparative political information about the new political Europe and its component elements. It deals with new and old member states (or nonmember states) and contrasts the different attitudes states hold towards the Union. The European Union is a complex but internationally very relevant organization. Students will learn to better understand how it has developed and how it might develop in the future. Vienna is a particularly well-suited site for the course not only because of its central geographical location but also because of its continuing status of neutrality, its special political and economic relationship with Eastern European countries and its specific position within the EU.
The focus is on the conditions of political change and development, an overview of constitutional and party systems, a comparative perspective on policy making and an attempt to evaluate system performance. Included are site visits and group work with Austrian students.