ASOA05007E Democracy, democratization and Civil Societies in Comparative Perspective

Volume 2014/2015

Elective course BA+MA

Please notice that this course is offered both as 7,5 ECTS and 10 ECTS (see under exam).



The study of democracy and democratisation has a long history in the subfield of political sociology. Interest in this topic has expanded dramatically with “The Third Wave of Democratisation” that has swept much of Latin America, Southern Europe, East Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the past three decades. By the start of the 21st century, nearly two-thirds of the world’s states could reasonably be described as democracies. The prevalence of democracy today represents a significant advance from the early 1970s, when more than two-thirds of the world’s states were under authoritarian rule. That progress, however, should not be taken for granted. Many of the world’s newer democracies depart significantly from the liberal ideal, occupying an uneasy middle group or “illiberal democracies”—a governing system in which citizens elect their political leaders but freedom is curtailed by the government. Thus, their democratic prospects remain fragile and backsliding toward autocracy or suffer an outbreak of internal civil war. Furthermore, the Arab Middle East and countries like China, North Korea and Cuba have weathered all waves of democratisation during the past three decades. It remains the only region and countries in which genuine democratic change is absent.


To give a broad introduction to issues and ideas concerning democracy and democratisation. A central purpose of the course is to think comparatively about the problems, opportunities, conditions, and constraints for democratic development and consolidation around the world.  Concepts and theories will be examined in light of diverse empirical experiences from new democracies and to trace the source of Middle East and Chinese exceptionalism (the Robustness of Authoritarianism in the Middle East and China). Overall, this intensive summer course intended to provide students with a solid background in the study of democratization and why has democratic consolidation proved so elusive. The idea is to familiarize you with the key debates and concepts on this growing topic and to think critically about the literature in this area. As such, the assignments for this course will consist primarily of critical “think pieces” concerning literature on the reading list, rather than intensive investigations of particular case studies in which you are especially interested. Nonetheless, I encourage you to bring any case knowledge you possess into the class discussions and papers and to use it in making arguments about the democratisation literature.


Learning Outcome


At the end of this course module and having completed the essential reading and activities students should be able to

• Describe and evaluate different theories and conceptualisations of democracy  and democratisation

• Discern and analyse key factors in facilitating democratisation

• Demonstrate an understanding of the role of civil society and social capital in building and maintaining democracy

• Demonstrate this detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in written and verbal form


Indicative reading

Jean Grugel and Matthew Louis Bishop (2014) Democratization. A critical introduction. 2nd edition

Jan Teorell (2010) Determinants of Democratization: Explaining regime change in the world, 1972‐2006.New York: Cambridge University Press

Christian W. Haerpfer, Patrick Bernhagen, Ronald F. Inglehart and Christian Welzel (2009) Democratization. Oxford: Oxford University Press

A detailed reading guide will provided at

This contains all the essential materials for the course, including the online syllabus, supplementary bibliography, online linked resources, course calendar, power-point slides, announcements, and other materials


The format of the course is primarily lectures and structured discussion.

Schedule of Lecture Topics

Unit I: Concepts: Democracy, Democratization, and Consolidation

Unit 2: Modernization Theory :Economic determinants of


Unit 3: Social determinants of democratization: Religion and

Cultural Change?

Unit 4: Democratization from Above: Elites

Unit 5: Democratization from Below: the role of Civil society

Unit 6: International Pressures & democracy promotion

Unit 7: Democratization and Nationalist Conflict

Unit 8: Democratisation and Peace: Power-sharing Institutional


Unit 9: Democratisation in Latin America

Unit 10: Democratisation in Asia

Unit 11: Authoritarian Resilience in China: Alternative to


Unit 12:Democratisation Eastern Europe & Post Communist Cases

Unit 13:Democratisation and Hybrid regimes in Africa

Unit 14: Authoritarian Resistance in the Middle East and North Africa
WORKLOAD - see below - Workload is specified for the 7,5 ECTS course.

The number of lecture hours are the same for both 7,5 and 10 ECTS courses.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam Preparation
  • 0
  • Exercises
  • 58
  • Lectures
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 120
  • Theory exercises
  • 0
  • Total
  • 206
Type of assessment
Oral examination
An oral exam based upon a topic chosen by the student.
Group/individual: Individual
Size: A synopsis of maximum 3 pages of 2400 characters. The synopsis may be handed in as a group. However, the oral exam is on individual basis. The synopsis itself is meant as a discussion paper and does not enter into the assessment.
Exam registration requirements

Sociology students must be enrolled under MSc Curriculum 2005, and BA Curriculum 2005 to take this exam.

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

See course aim

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Course participation
Number of mandatory activities:
1. Required to attend no less than 70%
2. At least one oral presentation.
Exam registration requirements

Sociology students must be enrolled under MSc Curriculum 2015 to take this exam.

Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

See course aim.