Political Change: Evolution, Revolution, and Back

Academic Year: 
Course Description: 

Master of Arts in Political Science Program - elective course
Master of Arts in Political Science (2 years) Program - elective course

This course is designed to discuss different forms of political change from theoretical and historical-comparative perspective. In the first part of the semester we examine general evolutionary forms of social change i. e. theories of modernization and development, which might preceed political restructuration. Old and new modernization studies wil be contrasted to old and new approaches in development, underdevelopment and dependency.

In the second part, we shall discuss revolutions in theoretical, historical, and comparative perspective. Comparative politics includes relational analysis of abrupt, violent, unexpected changes in the political structure of a society. We will discuss the major understandings and theories of the state in order to help conceptualizing revolution. Constitutionalist, Marxist, psychological, and functionalist approaches, just as mobilization, structuralist, and political culture theories of revolution will be analysed. When approaching political violence, notions such as palace revolution, coup, theories of internal and international war will also be discussed. The course will allow to focus on some case studies as well. We will use the opportunity of student presentations to discuss some empirical cases of revolutions or revolutionary movements.

Finally, in the third part of the semester, we shall cover non-violent forms of political change, and their social consequences. Transition and consolidation approaches will be critically discussed, together with the ideas of democracy promotion, and the rise of hybrid regimes. The course concludes with discussions on globalization / anti-globalization, democratic elitism and its discontents.

Learning Outcomes: 

Students will be able to distinguish between different forms of social change and political dynamics by familiarizing themselves both the theoretical and practical (i. e. policy) aspects of political change. They will be able to analyze political events of change in comparative and historical perspective.

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