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Democratic Processes in the World

Global Development
Enrollment in this course is by invitation only

About This Course

This course covers the basic principles, theories, conceptual tools, and comparative methods useful for understanding the challenges of democracy and democratization. By the end of the course one should be able to explain how democracy actually works in real world conditions; explain how democracy relates to the non-elective institutions of the state; discuss different ways in which democracy can work badly; outline the essential arguments of comparative historical sociologists of democratisation; explain how some forms of non-democracy can make the transition to democracy; assess theories of democratic breakdown in relatively poor countries and arguments for developmental dictatorship; discuss why democracy has survived in wealthy countries.

Course Content

1. Conceptualising democracy: General criteria for democracy, and particular forms of semi-democracy. Delegative democracy, illiberal democracy and biased states. Democratic consolidation.

2. Process of democratisation

  a) Paths to democracy

  b) Comparative historical studies

3. Conditions of Democracy and its maintenance: The concept of democratic legitimacy and the functioning of liberal democracy in societies.

4. Transitions to Democracy: Forms of non-democracy and transitional paths towards democratisation.

5. Democratic breakdown and reconstruction: Mass society theories and theories of class conflict.

  a) Democratic reconstruction and its problems.


Dahl, Robert, Democracy and its Critics, New Haven/London, Yale University Press, 1989, pp. 1-33, 213-224, 322-341

Huntington, Samuel P., The Third Wave. Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century, Norman and London, University of Oklahoma Press, 1991, pp. 1-30.

Lijphart, Arend, Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in Twenty-One Countries, New Haven and London, Yale University Press, 1984, pp. 1-45.

Linz, Juan and Stepan, Alfred, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe, Baltimore and London, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, pp. 3-87.

Lipset, S.M. Political Man: The Social Bases of politics. London: Heinemann.

Moore, B. The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World. London: Penguin.

Przeworski, A. Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reforms in Eastern Europe and Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rueschemeyer, D., E. Stephens and J. Stephens. Capitalist Development and Democracy. University of Chicago Press with Polity Press.

Schmitter, Philippe C., Karl, Terry Lynn, What Democracy is ... and is not, in Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner, ed., The Global Resurgence of Democracy, Baltimore and London, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, pp. 49-62.