Democracy and Democratization
This course is offered every autumn semester.
Objectives and Content
Students in this course will acquire a broad and sophisticated knowledge of democratic and non-democratic political systems as well as the processes which result in changes in the type of political system. They will approach these topics theoretically (through a survey of concepts and theories of democracy), historically (they will read a large variety of articles and book chapters that study individual countries' experiences from around the world in a comparative analytic framework), and scientifically (they will be exposed to classic research questions and hypotheses and study past and contemporary research that presents findings to answer these questions). Students will also study institutional varieties of democratic systems and study scientifically whether different types perform better in terms of economic outcomes. There are also selected readings throughout the course which instruct the students in the methodology of studying democratic and non-democratic systems. Most of the readings are professional (yet accessible) journal articles and book chapters, organized by theme and pedagogical value, supplemented by selections drawn from intermediate-level texts. Students will acquire the ability to analyze and interpret world political events related to democratic and non-democratic political systems.
The course is divided into the following sections: I. Concepts and Theories; II. Economic Development and the Process of Democratization; III. The Transition to and Consolidation of Democracy; IV. The Breakdown of Democracy and Authoritarian Regimes; V. Democratic Institutions; VI. Political Regimes and Political Violence.
Upon completion of this course, the student will have achieved the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:
- possesses a broad knowledge of central themes (democratization, varieties of political regimes, democratic performance, democratic institutions), theories (democratic theory, theory of regime consolidation, theory of regime change), research questions and traditions (Why do regimes rise and fall?; How do we evaluate regime performance?; What role does civil society play under democracy?), processes (regime change; civil society activation), scholarly tools (concepts, data, models of democracy) og methods (qualitative and quantitative) in the study of political regimes and regime change.
- is familiar with foundational literature (classic and contemporary research) as well as developments in the scholarly literature (cutting-edge developments) within the field of study concerning democracy and democratization;
- can update and extend existing knowledge (building upon introductory Sampol courses) in the study of democracy and democratization via advanced scholarly literature, data, and research methods;
- has knowledge concerning the role played by and the impact of democracy and democratization throughout history as well as the role played by democracy and political regime change in contemporary societies studied cross-nationally.
- can apply knowledge from the study of democracy and democratization and relevant findings in the scholarly literature on these topics to formulate informed analyses and prognoses on related issues on a global scale;
- can reflect over issues related to democracy and democratization and build upon them to formulate innovative research questions and research agendas;
- can build upon knowledge and literature studied in order to develop further research in the area of democracy and democratization, applying theories, concepts, data, and methods studied in this course;
- can build upon the home essay assignment for further, more sophisticated research into literature and problems in the study of democracy and democratization.
- has developed insights into the key issues regarding political regimes, democratization, regime stability, democratic quality and performance that are relevant for understanding and consulting on political systems in the world today;
- can disseminate and effectively convey central issues in the study of democracy and regime change, including key concepts and theories, empirical patterns, and findings from the scholarly literature;
- is familiar with new ways of studying and understanding political regimes and the institutional design of new democracies from past as well as contemporary history.
Required Previous Knowledge
Fulfilment of general admission requirements.
Access to the Course
Open for all students at the University of Bergen
Teaching and learning methods
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Forms of Assessment
7-day take-home exam, maximum 5000 words.
Assessment in teaching semester
The course is evaluated according to guidelines found in Handbok for kvalitetssikring av universitetsstudia.