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UCL European & International Social & Political Studies

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ESPS0031 - The Crisis of Democracy

Course value: 15 credits
Convenor: Dr. Brian Klaas
Duration: One term (Term 2)
Teaching structure: One-hour lecture and one-hour seminar
Assessment: 2 assessed essays of 2,500 words (50% each)
Available to: Second Years, Final Years and Affiliates (BA ISPS students may apply to join this module in their first year)
Module level: Intermediate


Course Description:

For the last 12 years, every region of the world has become less democratic and more authoritarian. In the rest of the world, more countries are turning away from the Western model of liberal democracy and tilting toward Chinese state-controlled capitalism. In the West, confidence in democracy is plummeting. Authoritarian-style populists have won elections in Poland, Hungary, the Philippines, Turkey, the United States, Brazil, Venezuela and Russia. Only about a third of people born in the 1980s in most Western Countries now say that it is 'essential' to live in a democracy, compared to nearly 8 in 10 who were born in the 1930s and 1940s. Why is democratic decay occurring in a variety of different regions simultaneously? Is democracy now outdated? And can it be saved with reform, or is more radical change required? This course will explore the global crisis of democracy and the resurgence of authoritarian populism.