Political Science 234
Democracy and Democratization in Comparative Perspective
Nathan J. Brown
1957 E Street, Room 502 A
Beginning in the 1960s, most specialists in comparative politics turned their attention away from democracy for two reasons. First, most began to reject the idea that political structures throughout the world were converging on liberal democracy. Second, formal electoral structures seemed increasingly irrelevant to politics throughout the world.
late 1970s and early 1980s, seemingly entrenched authoritarian regimes in
southern Europe and
Yet the new interest in democracy raised as many problems as it answered. Were we really witnessing a global wave of democratization or merely the simultaneous collapse of a diverse set of authoritarian regimes? Was democracy best understood in a narrow procedural sense or were broader definitions of democracy more appropriate? How was democracy related to economic liberalization or to political liberalism more broadly? In their rush to embrace democratization, were political scientists simply recreating modernization theory without realizing it?
The past decade has not witnessed any diminution of scholarly interest in democracy, but it has allowed for more reflective and nuanced scholarship to emerge.
In this course, however, we will begin not with the most recent scholarship but with some older writings that have colored much of our subsequent thinking about democracy. These writings often contain not only the seeds of current assumptions but also long-forgotten insights and cautions that can help us approach more recent writings with a more critical eye. After considering some of these older writers, we will proceed to some of the newer scholarship, drawing not only on empirical research but also (and perhaps especially) on more theoretical and abstract works related to democracy and democratization.
The primary requirements is to read the assigned articles and books carefully and critically and come to class to disccuss them.
The other requirements are designed to support this primary requirement:
· Each week, all students should submit a short list (perhaps two or three) of discussion questions. I am particularly interested in questions that compare and contrast the readings or the approaches taken by various authors to the issues raised in the course. These questions should be posted on Blackboard at least 24 hours before the class begins.
· For weeks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 13, I expect a group of short (approximately 500 word) essays presenting a critique of the major book assigned based on at least three book reviews that appeared in academic journals. Each student should volunteer to post a critique on one book; the essay should be posted on Blackboard at least 48 hours before the session discussing the book meets.
The following books are all required reading and I strongly urge students to purchase all of them (I recommend Amazon and other internet booksellers for ease of ordering and price):
· Aristotle, Politics
· Robert Putnam Making Democracy Work
· Charles Tilly, Democracy
· O’Donnell and Schmitter, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies
· Nancy Bermeo, Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
· Larry Diamond, Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation
· Jon Elster and Rune Slagstad, Constitutionalism and Democracy
· Jon Elster, Deliberative Democracy
· Jason Brownlee, Authoritarianism in an Age of Democratization
· Adam Przworski, Democracy and Development
· Robert Dahl, The Democracy Sourcebook
1. January 16—no class
2. January 23: Classical conceptions of democracy
3. January 30: Modern Conceptions
§ Volume I, Part I, chapter 3
§ Volume I, Part II, chapters 1, 56, 7, 8, 9, 10
§ Volume II, Part II, chapters 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 17
§ Volume II, Part IV, chapter 6
4. February 6: Neo-Tocquevillianism?
5. February 13: Transitions: Early Formulations
6. February 20: Transitions in and out of Democracy: Later Approaches
7. February 27: Constitutionalism
Jon Elster and Rune Slagstad, Constitutionalism and Democracy
8. March 5: Consolidation and Stability
9. March 12: In and Out of Democracy
Charles Tilly, Democracy
10. March 26: Democracy and Development
11. April 2: Structure of Democracy
The Democracy Sourcebook, pp. 257-349, 354-362
12. April 9: Islam and Democracy
13. April 16: Deliberative Democracy
Jon Elster, Deliberative Democracy
14. April 23: Semiauthoritarianism
15. April 29 (make-up date): Promoting Democracy
Thomas Carothers, Critical