MA Political Science - European Politics & Policy Pathway (Standard Route) / Course details
Year of entry: 2024
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Course unit details:
Comparative Democratisation in Eastern Europe and Latin America
|Unit level||FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree|
|Teaching period(s)||Semester 2|
|Available as a free choice unit?||Yes|
Brief overview of the syllabus/topics.
This unit will provide students with an in-depth analytical understanding of contemporary comparative democratization in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Students will be asked to reflect on the ‘third wave’ rise in transitions to democracy. Employing several critical cases, students will investigate several puzzles plaguing political scientists: What is democracy? What are the necessary and sufficient requirements/variables in the democratization process? And why, in certain instances, do some ‘new’ democracies ‘succeed’ and consolidate and other back-slide?
This unit aims to provide students with an in-depth analytical understanding of the theory and practice of democracy and democratization processes in Eastern Europe and Latin America in comparative perspective. The unit will contrast and compare the processes of democratization and assess the outcomes of these processes (‘real world’ democracy). The unit aims to present students with the different theoretical understandings of democratization and demonstrate the tension between ‘theory’ and empirical realities in the two regions under study.
The course will provide a critical perspective on the follow debates: Is there elite and economistic bias? Is this a ’necessary evil’? Or are ‘Ordinary’ Citizens and their participation equally important? What is the durability of institutional and historical legacies? Or can legacies be overcome? Can the ’west’ promote of import democracy?
First, the course aims to provide an intermediate to advanced overview of political theory and its development over the last fifty years. We will trace these developments from linear modernization theories of democratization, to the institutionalism turn of the 1990s, to the shift to agency and the role of civil and civic engagement, to the most recent holistic and critical focus on the ‘quality’ and ‘qualities’ of democracy. Second the course aims to follow the historic processes in Latin America and Eastern Europe and the institutions and actors involved in these processes from the late 1980s to today. Thus, allowing students to contrast and compare democratization in the two regions. The course aims to critically dissect the concepts of transition, consolidation, back-sliding and ‘quality of democracy.’ Thus, the course not only peruses the main literature and debates of the ‘transition’ and ‘democratization’ paradigms but also presents students with the tools to question the linear aspects of transition and democratization theory and studies. The course will break down ‘region’ based stereo-types and will highlight the issue of intra-regional divergence and inter-regional convergence. Students will asked to assess why only some post-communist (in EE) and post-authoritarian (in LA) transitions were democratic and why some of these ‘young’ democracies are very liberal or participatory and other still flag behind their neighbours.
While we will be looking at the two regions as a whole, the course will focus in on the following country case studies: Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Russia, Estonia and Georgia, and the former Yugoslavia (in EE); and Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, and Cuba. There will be a strong emphasis on the cases of Ukraine and Argentina in comparative perspective.
The course will equip students with; a) an understanding of the empirical background and the development of the post-communist/post-authoritarian transition to democracy in EE and LA; b) a grasp of the specialized literature on democratization and democracy theory; and c) a knowledge of the broader comparative politics literature.
Teaching and learning methods
This course will be taught in 10 weekly two hour seminars.
The aim is for the seminars to be a student led discussion facilitated by presentations and group exercises, to a great extent. Students are expected to have completed all the required reading and to come prepared with two key terms they found to be integral to the week’s readings (or the most confusing) and one question to pose to their peers. These will be discussed in small groups of 3-4 in the first 10 minutes of class. This will be followed by a brief class discussion of the key concepts. The second half of the seminar will consist of short presentations by students followed by class discussion and debate.
The Blackboard site for the course will contain relevant links to further sources and websites. The students will be encouraged to use a variety off on-line resources (including social media and blogs) to investigate the protests and even engage with the grass roots organizers of the protest events, where possible.
Students will also be encouraged to employ digital archives of primary documents and protest paraphernalia, where available on-line.
Lecture and seminar material will also be posted on the site as well as some study skills and assessment tips.
Knowledge and understanding
A sophisticated understanding of the literature on comparative democratization in Eastern Europe and Latin America; a broad knowledge of recent empirical cases of democratization, consolidation and back-sliding in comparative perspective; and a broad knowledge on the developing debate about the intersection of institutions and agency in political processes.
A capacity to engage analytically with the major debates in the literature on comparative democratization in Eastern Europe and Latin America. An ability to employ comparative method and evidence based analysis in academic writing.
Transferable skills and personal qualities
Improved writing, argumentation, debating and presentation skills. The capacity to succinctly and analytically summarize and mobilize complex ideas.
|Written assignment (inc essay)||50%|
Essay - 2000 words - 50%
Constitution Assignment - Group Constitution 600 words/ Group Presentation/ Individual Analytical Report on constitution 800 words- 40%
Seminar Participation- 10%
- Acemoglu, Daron, and James A. Robinson. 2006. Persistence of Power, Elites and Institutions.
- Almond, Gabriel A. (Gabriel Abraham). 1989. The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. [New ed.]. Newbury Park, Ca.¿; London: Sage.
- Auyero, Javier. 2007. Routine Politics and Violence in Argentina: The Gray Zone of State Power. Cambridge University Press.
- Avritzer, Leonardo. 2002. Democracy and the Public Space in Latin America. Princeton University Press.
- Beissinger, Mark R. 2013. “The Semblance of Democratic Revolution: Coalitions in Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.” American Political Science Review FirstView: 1–19.
- Bermeo, Nancy Gina. 2003. Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times: The Citizenry and the Breakdown of Democracy. Princeton University Press.
- Boix, Carles, and Susan Carol Stokes. 2003. “Endogenous Democratization.” World politics 55(4): 517–49.
- Bunce, Valerie J., and Sharon L. Wolchik. 2011. Defeating Authoritarian Leaders in Postcommunist Countries. Cambridge University Press.
- Collier, David, and Steven Levitsky. 1997. “Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research.” World politics 49(03): 430–51.
- Diamond, Larry. 1992. “Economic Development and Democracy Reconsidered.” American behavioral scientist 35(4-5): 450–99.
- Horowitz, Donald L. 1993. “Democracy in Divided Societies.” Journal of Democracy 4(4): 18–38.
- Huntington, Samuel P. 1991. The Third Wave., Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century.
- Inglehart, Ronald. 1997. 19 Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies. Cambridge Univ Press.
- Levitsky, Steven, and Lucan Way. 2002. “The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism.” Journal of democracy 13(2): 51–65.
- Linz, Juan. 1990. “The Perils of Presidentialism.” Journal of Democracy 1(1): 51–69.
- Lipset, Seymour Martin. 1981. Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics. Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Manin, Bernard, Adam Przeworski, and Susan Stokes. 1999. “Elections and Representation.” Democracy, accountability, and representation: 29–54.
- Onuch, Olga. 2014. “‘Who Were the Protesters?.’” Journal of Democracy.
- Przeworski, Adam, and Fernando Limongi. 1997. “Modernization: Theories and Facts.” World politics 49(02): 155–83.
- Tsebelis, George. 2002. Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work. Princeton University Press.
|Scheduled activity hours|
|Independent study hours|
|Olga Onuch||Unit coordinator|