POLS-P303: Challenges of Democracy

POLS-P303 — Spring 2020

World currency
Jack Bielasiak
GA 103
Days and Times
Tuesday and Thursday 4:00–6:30 p.m.
Course Description

Can any country become a democracy, or are certain preconditions necessary? Why do some democracies succeed, while others break down and return to dictatorial politics? Is democracy in crisis around the world today? The course examines the principles, institutions and challenges of democracies around the world. We start with: what is democracy? We turn to preconditions -- are economic growth, or civic culture, or foreign influence necessary for democracy? Or can democracy be crafted in inhospitable situations? Next, we consider different institutional mechanisms: pluralism and consensus democracy, presidential and parliamentary governments, multi or two-party systems. We conclude by examining contemporary challenges to democracy, such as populism, illiberalism, and personalism. Requirements include participation in class discussion, in-class and homework written assignments, and two exams.