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Unit of study_

GOVT3980: Democracy and Dictatorship

The end of the Cold War marks the victory of democracy as the 'best' political system in the world. Yet many existing democracies today are fledgling and of poor quality and are at risk of breaking down. This unit will examine advanced theoretical and empirical debates about the origin, development and collapse of democracies since the 20th century. It also focuses in-depth on understanding why some authoritarian regimes remain resilient despite an ongoing global trend towards democratization.

Code GOVT3980
Academic unit Government and International Relations
Credit points 6
12 credit points at 2000 level in Politics or 12 credit points at 2000 level International Relations or 12 senior credit points from Government and International Relations

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand how political scientists define terms such as “democracy” and “authoritarian regime”
  • LO2. Critically engage with such concepts and how they have been applied in the past
  • LO3. Have a deeper understanding of major theories used to explain transitions from one regime type to another (e.g., democratic breakdown, democratisation)
  • LO4. Learn to apply such theories to both historical (e.g., “third wave” of democratisation) and contemporary cases (e.g., India, China)
  • LO5. Become familiar with cutting-edge concepts in comparative politics, such as “hybrid regime,” “subnational authoritarianism,” and “authoritarian successor parties”
  • LO6. Gain a richer understanding of world events through the application of theories of regimes and regime transitions (e.g., “democratic erosion,” “deconsolidation”)