Political Science | Post Communist Politics (3 cr)
Y657 | 3447 | Bielasiak

The course is about the transitions from communist towards democratic
politics in Ease Europe and the post-Soviet states.  The emphasis is on
theoretical questions and conceptual issues associated with the
post-communist transformation.  To that effect, we look first at the special
problems associated with the legacy of communism and the burden of the
"triple" transition in the economy, society, and polity.
The primary focus of the seminar will be on the "foundation" of a democratic
order through the formation and consolidation of institutions facilitating
democratic, pluralist politics.  We examine here the emergence of a new
constitutional mandate, the creation of governing structures (presidential
v. parliamentarian), the formation of party systems (electoral rules,
political cleavages, party alignments), the construction of civil society
(associations, interest groups), the institutional infrastructure of a
market economy (exchange, private property), and the public response to
political and economic transformation.  The final phase of the seminar will
be an assessment of the success/failure of the democratic enterprise in
former communist states.
Due to the contemporary  nature of the topic, readings will come primarily
from articles in academic journals, although we will also consult recent
books and works in progress.  The primary requirement for the seminar is an
original research paper on the question of institution building during the
democratic transition in the post-communist world - either as a case study
of one country or as a comparative analysis of several cases.