Copenhagen, Denmark

Democracy and Democratization in Comparative Perspective

when 31 July 2019 - 16 August 2019
language English
duration 3 weeks
credits 7.5 EC

The study of democracy and democratisation has a long history in the subfield of Comprative Politics. Interest in this topic has expanded dramatically with “The Third Wave of Democratisation” that has swept much of Latin America, Southern Europe, East Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union during the past three decades. By the start of the 21st century, nearly two-thirds of the world’s states could reasonably be described as democracies. The prevalence of democracy today represents a significant advance from the early 1970s, when more than two-thirds of the world’s states were under authoritarian rule. That progress, however, should not be taken for granted. Many of the world’s newer democracies depart significantly from the liberal ideal, occupying an uneasy middle group or “illiberal democracies”—a governing system in which citizens elect their political leaders but freedom is curtailed by the government. Thus, their democratic prospects remain fragile and backsliding toward autocracy or suffer an outbreak of internal civil war. Furthermore, the Arab Middle East and countries like China, North Korea and Cuba have weathered all waves of democratisation during the past three decades. It remains the only region and countries in which genuine democratic change is absent.

Target group

Bachelor/Master students

Course aim


• By the end of the module it is intended that the student will be able to:

• Demonstrate knowledge of recent trends in the spread of democracy

throughout the world;

• Demonstrate an understanding of the different theoretical approaches

to democratization and analyze and assess the factors that contribute to

countries’ shift from authoritarian to democratic status, in particular the

relative role of social, cultural, political and economic forces;

• Identify the key international actors involved in democracy promotion

and analyze and assess their aims and practices;

• Apply conceptual tools to analyze democratization processes in particular cases;


• Students should also have;

•Developed a good overview of key theoretical issues and debates on democracy and democratization including the various schemas used to categorize different states of democratic rule, and measurement of such transition in developing countries;

• Developed the ability to apply and evaluate different theoretical frameworks to explain recent trends in regime change and the record of international democracy promotion efforts;

• Developed their capacity for the critical examine to the extent to which the nature, features and causes of democratization across countries

display common traits, or whether country or regional specificities are more apparent;

• Developed the ability to assess the merits of competing characterizations of and explanations for the relationship between democracy and violence in plural societies, along with the role played by political institutions in overcoming such cleavages;

• Developed the ability to critically analyses and present both in oral and written form, key issues and works on the problems of democratization.


Student will: develop a broad, comparative understanding of the mechanisms behind democratic transitions from a historical and social scientific perspective to acquire the competence to assess present-day democratic development on a national level

Credits info

7.5 EC
Bachelor student: 10 ECTS

Master student: 7.5 ECTS

Fee info

EUR 0: xx