GV4E1      Half Unit
Comparative Democratization in a Global Age

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr William Kissane


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

Course content

To introduce students to the fundamental political science debates about the phenomenon of democratization, to explore the explanatory strength of key paradigms, and to compare distinct modes of democratization. Specific topics are: Definitions of democratization and democratic consolidation; waves of democratization; capitalist development and democratization; elite transitions; post-civil war democracy; hybrid regimes; democratic backsliding; the current crisis of democracy and the existence of civil strife in the United States. Cases range from year to year but currently include China, Hungary, the United States, Spain, Turkey and Mozambique.


This course provides a combination of seminars and lectures totalling a minimum of 30 hours in the Autumn Term. There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the AT for private study and assessment preparation.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to submit one non-assessed essay of 1500 words.

Indicative reading

D Potter et al, Democratization; J. Grugel, Democratization; Rueschmeyer, Stephens and Stephens, Capitalist Development and Democracy; J Linz and A S Stepan, Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the WT.

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 48.7
Merit 48.7
Pass 2.6
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2022/23: 23

Average class size 2022/23: 12

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

  • Communication