Democracy and Democratisation

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr William Kissane CBG 3.39


This course is available on the BSc in Government, BSc in Government and Economics, BSc in Government and History, BSc in International Relations, BSc in International Social and Public Policy with Politics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics, BSc in Politics and Economics, BSc in Politics and History, BSc in Politics and International Relations, BSc in Politics and Philosophy and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Students must have completed Introduction to Political Science (GV101).

Course content

The course is concerned with theories of democratisation and case studies of democratic transformations during the so-called “third wave” of democratisation from the 1970s to the present. It analyses processes of transition and consolidation of  democracy and of democratic reversal in the context of globalisation. The first five weeks study the concept of democracy, theories of transition to democracy, democratic consolidation and hybrid regimes and  the crisis of liberal democracy. The remainder of the course uses the conceptual tools of the first five weeks to study the condition of democracy in different regions of the world, including Eastern and Southern Europe, Latin America, South East Asia, Africa, India, the Middle East and Russia.


This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 51 and a half hours across the Michaelmas, Lent and Summer Terms. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and on-campus lectures and classes. There will be a reading week in Week 6 of both the MT and LT terms.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Indicative reading

The most useful introductory readings are: J. Grugel and M. L. Bishop (2016) Democratization: A Critical Introduction; L. Whitehead (2002) Democratization and  the articles in Journal of Democracy, January 2015. 

Other useful texts are: S. Levitsky and D. Ziblatt (2018) How Democracies Die; Y. Mounk (2018) The People Vs Democracy; A Przeworski, Democracy and the Market (1991); D. A. Rostow (1970) Transitions to Democracy: Towards a Dynamic Model; T. Carothers (2002) The End of the Transition Paradigm?; Donatella Della Porta (2013) Can Democracy be Saved?


Exam (60%, duration: 3 hours) in the summer exam period.
Essay (40%, 2500 words) in the LT.



The Class Summary Grade for General Course students will be calculated as follows: 70% formative coursework, 20% class presentation, 10% class participation (including attendance and contribution).

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Student performance results

(2018/19 - 2020/21 combined)

Classification % of students
First 32.4
2:1 58.4
2:2 8.1
Third 0
Fail 1.2

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2020/21: 52

Average class size 2020/21: 9

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Communication