Democracy and Constitutional Design
Course Code: PUBLG073
Course Tutor: Dr James Dawson (Department of Political Science)
Assessment: One 6,000 word essay
Credit Value: 30
About this course
introduces students to the academic study of democracy and democratisation,
giving students a context for world developments in these areas. It covers the
basic governing institutions of states, and compares democratic rights,
constitutions, and institutions to institutions in non-democratic and hybrid
regimes. The interaction between social structure and institutions is also
examined. The course then explores different paths to democratisation, with
ample reference to examples from countries around the globe. It concludes with
a consideration of the pros and cons of democracy promotion as a policy
By the end of this course students will be familiar with the primary debates regarding democracy and democratic institutions in comparative politics, as well as debates in comparative politics regarding the ability of institutions to influence societies, and the inverse. Students will also gain a comprehensive understanding of different paths to democratisation, including policies of democracy promotion. In addition to these thematic areas, students will be able to situate current problems of political change within a broader theoretical and comparative context, and will gain an understanding of how to critically evaluate academic theories and policy positions in these areas. Finally students will develop skills of critical reading, thinking, and writing though a combination of readings, lectures and discussions, and writing assignments. Students taking the course for 30 credits will also gain an applied understanding of the use of case studies and comparison in comparative politics, as grounding for research on the dissertation or in their later employment or for further study.
This is a core module for students registered on the MSc Democracy and Comparative Politics programme and is not available as an optional module.