Not available in 2013/14
GV427      Half Unit
Democracy in East and South Asia

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Chun Lin CON3.10


This course is available on the MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Comparative Politics, MSc in Conflict Studies, MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Global Politics, MSc in Media, Communication and Development and MSc in Politics and Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Recent political developments in East and South Asia in their historical and international contexts. In particular, how and why the idea of democracy has been contested and evolved in the region and in some cases catalysed social changes and/or regime transformation. Historical, global and local stimuli and obstacles to democracy in the region. Development and democracy; modernisation and democratisation as non-parallel processes. Diverse paths in Asia to political modernity and alternative conceptions of democracy. Comparative studies of liberal and non-liberal models of democracy: India, Japan, the NICs, China and the communist experiments elsewhere. Debates over democracy as an ideology; sources of legitimacy; political culture and human rights. The politics of ethnicity, religion and gender; postcolonial nation-building and post-cold war institutional choices; nationalism and regional order in globalisation and world politics.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 4 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students are required to give at least one seminar presentation, and write one 1,500-word essay, due in Week 7 of the LT.

Indicative reading

D Beetham, Defining and Measuring Democracy (1994); J Dower, Embracing Defeat (1999); P Oldenburg, India, Pakistan, and Democracy (2010); M Woo-Cumings (Ed), The Developmental State (1999); A Chan et al, Transforming Asian Socialism (1999); W Kymlicka & B He (Eds), Multiculturalism in Asia (2005); A Nathan & Y Chu, How East Asians View Democracy (2009); D A Bell, Beyond Liberal Democracy (2006) E Frost Asia's New Regionalism (2008).


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the ST.

Student performance results

(2009/10 - 2011/12 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 14.4
Merit 77.5
Pass 7.2
Fail 0.9

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2012/13: 32

Average class size 2012/13: 16

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication