Political Science | Comparative Democratization
Y657 | 23075 | Bielasiak


Y657,  Comparative Politics:  Comparative Democratization

The seminar examines the recent “third wave” turn to democracy
around the world, seeking to understand the reason for
democratization and its successes and failures.   To that end, the
emphasis is on alternative theoretical explanations and conceptual
approaches in the study of regime change.  The first part of the
course considers what we mean by democracy, democratization, and
democratic consolidation, and how to operationalize these concepts.
We proceed to consider factors that facilitate or hinder the
democratization process, e.g. issues of historical legacies, elite
commitments, political culture, and economic development.   Next,
particular attention is paid to institutional structures, e.g.
electoral rules, party systems, and civil society, to assess
democratic sustainability or democratic breakdown.   Finally we turn
to assess outcomes of the transition by examining the types of
political regimes emerging during the Third Wave.
The main task of the course is to engage in comparative thinking
about the opportunities and constraints of democratic development in
several regions of the world.  Accordingly, the empirical evidence
draws on the experiences of emerging democracies and competitive
authoritarianism in Southern Europe, post-communism, Latin America,
Asia and Africa.   Readings will come from book length studies and
journal articles.   The main requirement is a research paper
comparing some aspect of the democratization process in the Third
Wave.