Political Science | Transitions to Democracy (3 cr)
Y657 | 3487 | Bielasiak


What accounts for the breakdown of authoritarian regimes?  How do
states become democracies?  How are countries able to consolidate
democracy?  What facilitates democratic sustainability?
These are the basic questions we will consider in the course, first
through theoretical explanations for transitions from
authoritarianism to democracy, and from democratic transition to
democratic consolidation. We also explore the empirical dimension of
democratization through an examination of cases in Southern Europe,
Latin America, postcommunism, East Asia and Africa.
The focus will be on different theoretical perspectives in the
transition literature.  We begin with the examination of the
dominant "structural" versus "process" explanations (e.g. Moore,
Lipset, O'Donnell and Schmitter), turn to several other approaches,
including rational choice (Przeworski), development (Rueschemeyer,
Stephens and Stephens), the attempted reconciliation of structural
and process theories (Huntington), and the recent emphasis on
consolidation dilemmas (Mainwaring et al., Diamond). We will then
look in detail at several cases of "third wave" transitions to
democracy in the contemporary world (e.g. Linz and Stepan)
Course requirements include participation in class discussion, two
short critical papers on the assigned readings, and a research paper
on recent (successful or attempted) transitions in Latin America,
East Europe, the former Soviet Union, East Asia or Africa.