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Building Democratic Institutions East and West

Vak 2011-2012

What kinds of institutions are essential for the building of a stable democracy? Do they need to grow over decades or can they be created in a relatively short period of time through the choices made by elites? What are the choices that democratizing elites are faced with? Can new democratic institutions be designed, and if so what factors might influence their success? What common challenges to
democracy worldwide are emerging today and what answers to these challenges can we find in contemporary debates on the nature of democracy, the relationship between globalization and democracy and democracy and the nation state? These are some of the questions which this course will address. These questions are becoming topical and urgent again after the opening of North African regimes in the so called Arab spring process in 2011.
This course will discuss these questions with the help of various perspectives drawn from theoretical and empirical work on democratization mostly in the post communist countries in Eastern Europe but also in the European Union and other parts of the world. The course will focus in particular on the practical and theoretical challenges encountered in trying to build democratic institutions, challenges such as multiple transformations and weak states, post conflict democratization, the problem of creating legitimacy in new types of political systems such as the European Union.
The objectives of the course are to give students an overview of the transitions to democracy literature and analyze it critically in the light of recent developments. This will contribute to objectives 1, 2 and 3 of the education programme of the Institute of Public Administration (orientation in major debates, academic skills, professional skills).

Lecturer
Dr. A.L. Dimitrova

Course Material
Selected articles on Blackboard

Examination
Working paper, participation, oral exam