GV427      Half Unit
Democracy in East and South Asia

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Chun Lin CON3.10


This course is available on the MSc in Comparative Politics and MSc in Global Politics. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


This course is capped at two groups. The deadline for receipt of applications will likely be between Friday 25 September and Friday 9 October 2015, depending on the course. The exact deadline for applications will be confirmed at your programme induction. You will be expected to provide a rationale setting out your motivations for selecting this course via the LSE for You system. 

Course content

The course is concerned with recent political development in South and East Asia in their historical and international contexts (Southeast Asia is covered by other courses). We are in particular interested in exploring how and why the idea of democracy has evolved and contested in various forms, patterns and political movements in the region, catalyzing further social and institutional changes and, in some cases, regime transformation. We look at how democracy as a dynamic political project has interacted with forces of market, nationalism, modernization and globalization, with class, gender, ethnic, religious, and spatial identities, and with diverse local and cultural traditions. We examine conflicts, crises and uncertainties in political ideologies and policy processes relevant to the competing interpretations and alternative conceptions of democracy. Comparatively tracing contemporary developments in the region, we learn how democracy in theory and practice is informed by discursive struggle, contentious politics, social movements and newer information technology; and why democracy must be studied historically and critically. At the end of the course, students are expected to be familiar with contemporary politics in South and East Asia, competent in discussing at least two country cases with detailed historical-empirical knowledge, and adapted to writing with a measure of disciplinary fluency in social sciences.


27 hours and 30 minutes of seminars in the LT.

This course will be taught in Lent Term, constituting 10 weeks of 2.5 hour seminars and one reading week (week 6 of the LT) for essay preparation and learning support activities. 

Formative coursework

One seminar presentation and one 1,500-word essay.

Indicative reading

D Beetham, Defining and Measuring Democracy (1994); J Dower, Embracing Defeat (1999); P Anderson, The Indian Ideology (2013); 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).


Essay (100%, 4000 words).

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2014/15: 34

Average class size 2014/15: 17

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication