Political Science | Political Democratization
Y396 | 3784 | Bielasiak
Over the past two decades, we have seen a flowering of democracy
around the world. Many countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia and
Africa have turned away from dictatorships to embrace
new “democratic” practices. What are the causes of this
democratization and what are its results?
We start with the fundamental question: what is democracy and
democratization? We turn to the issue of “preconditions” – are
economics, culture, foreign influences necessary to start democracy?
Or can democracy be crafted in inhospitable situations, such as
economic backwardness? What kinds of institutions, constitutions,
elections, political parties, are best suited to assure democratic
continuity? How do we know when democracies have become consolidated
and will not turn back to authoritarian politics?
This course examines these issues in a global perspective,
drawing on cases form all regions of the world, to arrive at a better
understanding of political change and democratic theory.
Requirements include attendance and participation in seminar
discussions, a critical essay evaluating one of the weekly readings,
an oral presentation on a seminar topic, a short paper on one of the
issues examined in the course, and a final examination.