The attempt to understand how political systems change and why they evolve in the ways that they do has preoccupied students of comparative politics since the Second World War. This course takes stock of this project to date, examining early attempts to explain modernisation, the rise to prominence of the developmentalist paradigm, the criticisms levelled against the mainstream views by dependendistas and world-systems theories, indigenous models of development, post-modernism, and the recent rebirth of the political development approach. Examples are drawn from sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean basin, and Oceania.