Political Science | Dictatorship to Democracy
Y490 | 14678 | 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.   Yet many of these have fallen short of
liberal democracy, and reverted back to authoritarian tendencies.
The basic question is: can any country become a democracy,
regardless of past history, political culture, or economic
development, or are certain prerequisites necessary for democracy to

The seminar examines the causes of democratization, the processes of
change from dictatorial to democratic rule, and the results of the
attempted democratization, as success or failure.   We start with
the fundamental question: what is democracy and democratization?  We
turn to the issue of preconditions  are economic growth, civic
culture, foreign influences necessary to start democracy?  Or can
democracy be crafted in inhospitable situations, such as economic
backwardness and political intolerance?  What kinds of institutions,
constitutions, elections, parties, and civic associations are best
suited for democratic success?  How do we know when democracies have
become consolidated and will not turn back to authoritarian politics?

The course considers these issues in a global perspective, drawing
on cases form all regions of the world  for example Mexico, Russia,
South Korea, Pakistan, Nigeria and Iraq.  Requirements include
attendance and participation in seminar discussions, a short
critical essay evaluating one of the weekly readings, an oral
presentation on a seminar topic, short research papers on different
aspects of  democratization, and a final examination.