Analyzing Democracy: Theory, Practice, Innovations

Term: 
Winter
Credits: 
2.0
ECTS Credits: 
4.0
Academic Year: 
Status: 
Elective
Course Description: 

This course focuses on the ways contemporary democracies are analyzed, evaluated and innovations proposed. The course is divided into several parts. The first part concentrates on the ontological aspects – on the concepts, models and patterns of democratic regimes. The second part focuses on challenges and methodological issues. The third – on accountability and democratic performance. Part four deals with democratic citizens, their normative expectations towards democracy, their evaluations and democratic legitimacy. Last part looks at democratic innovations and prospects of democracy.

Expectations
The class will be run in a seminar-like manner, although the instructor will devote part of the time of each class to present the broader aspects of each topic. Students are expected to be present, active, and prepared for thorough discussion of the readings assigned.

Course Objectives
The aim of the course is to familiarize students with the mainstream literature on contemporary democracies. The course should enable students to comprehend the complex issues of the functioning and performance of democracies.

Learning Outcomes: 

First, the course is supposed to make students knowledgeable about important currents in contemporary literature and discussion concerning democracy as a regime type. Second, during the course student are expected to enhance their capacity to understand and analyze political institutions, processes and political behavior taking place in contemporary democracies. Third, students will be introduced to innovations to democracy discussed  and practiced around the world. Fourth, the class activity, in particular students' presentations of the selected readings should train them in effective appearances in public. Finally, the final essay itself is expected to enhance students' ability to correctly choose literature, deal with methodological issues and also improve their ability to use abstract concepts in contemporary debates about the state of democracy.

Assessment: 

(1) Active class participation, which means: intellectual presence at the class meetings - comments, questions – 10% of the grade

(2) Class presentation of a selected topic(s), selected by students and sent to the instructor and course participants no later than 24 hours before class presentation – 30%

(3) Position papers, each student is expected to prepare two position papers, which critically review selected reading from the list (topics different than the one chosen for in-class presentation); each should be no longer than 3 pages – 20%

(4) Final paper; topic of the final paper to be agreed with the instructor at least three weeks prior to its final submission – 40%