Postgraduate Modules: POL6150 - Democratization

Module Code

POL 6150

Module Title



Level 4




30 credits

Taught by:

Adrian Millican

Module Description:

This module looks at the nature and processes of democratisation around the world. It uses the numerous transitions to democracy that took place in recent decades as a platform for understanding the complexities associated with regime change. The module starts by highlighting the academic debates surrounding the concept of democracy and the numerous ways to measure it. It then focuses on the multiple explanations of the emergence of democracies, critically analyzing and evaluating them. The module also examines the difficulties and challenges of building democracies and asks when (or if) democratization is complete. It takes a look at institutional engineering and its effects, as well as the political economy of transitions. Moreover, it examines the impact of the civil society and the importance of democracy promotion. Finally, the module looks at the persistence of authoritarian regimes.

Module Aims:

This module aims to provide an advanced level of understanding of processes of democratisation. It offers students the opportunity to combine theoretical approaches developed from within politics, international relations and international political economy. By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the different theoretical approaches to democratisation; variations in processes of democratisation; examples of democratisation in some key countries.
  • Apply conceptual tools to analyse democratisation processes in particular cases.
  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, including understand complex concepts and theories, utilising primary and secondary sources and deepening the capacity for independent learning.

This module also equips students with a range of important transferrable skills, which are vital
in terms of employability, including working independently as well as part of a team; managing a
varied workload; assimilating and synthesising multiple theoretical ideas; constructing coherent,
independent and critical arguments; preparing and delivering presentations.

Module Schedule:

1 Introduction –Concepts and Approaches
2 Defining & Measuring Democracies
3 Approaches to Democratisation
4 The Third Wave
5 Democratic Consolidation
6 Political Institutions & Democratization
7 The Political Economy of Democratization
8 Civil Society & Democratization
9 Democracy Promotion & Democratization
10 The Persistence of Authoritarianism
11 Student Presentations
12 Student Presentations

Teaching Methods:

  • 12 * 2 hour lectures


  • Essay 1 (2,500 words) - 40% of mark
  • Essay 2 (3,500 words) - 60% of mark

Resources Available:

  • Individual feedback and guidance sessions with module tutors.
  • Detailed 20-page module handbook.
  • Dedicated module site on MOLE2.
  • Extensive library materials, including a wide variety of electronic and digitised resources.

Indicative Reading:

Grugel, Jean. 2002. Democratization: A Critical Introduction Palgrave, 2002

Przeworski, Adam, Michael Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub and Fernando Limongi. 2000. Democracy and Development: Political Institutions & Well-Being in the World, 1950-1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Linz, Juan & Alfred Stepan. 1996. Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Huntington, Samuel P. 1991. The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Diamond, Larry. 1999. Developing Democracy: Toward Consolidation, Johns Hopkins University Press.

Diamond, Larry & Michael Plattner (eds). 2001. The Global Divergence of Democracies, Johns Hopkins University Press.

What our Students Say:

“The module was excellent, and I really learned quite a lot. The way the seminars were set up allowed me the chance to really explore the topics and bounce ideas off of my fellow classmates. The module tutor did a great job guiding the discussion, and allowing for the class to work together and come up with good ideas.”

“It was a very interesting module that provided me with a lot of new ideas and somehow affected my further research preferences.”