Political Science | Comparative Democratization
Y657 | 14396 | Bielasiak


The seminar examines the “third wave” turn to democracy and its
consequences, to understand the reasons for democratization and its
successes and failures.   To that end, the emphasis is on
alternative theoretical explanations and conceptual approaches to
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 and
party systems or civil society, to assess democratic sustainability
or democratic breakdown.  We conclude by examining issues of regime
diversification 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 in Southern Europe,
post-communism, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Course requirements
include class participation, brief critical essays on weekly
readings, and a research paper on regime change in the third wave of
democratization.