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Conflict and Democracy




Admission Requirements

A similarly tagged 100-level course. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.


Diversity and democracy come at clash with each other because ethnic and religious groups in a single political system often have divergent political aspirations. The representation of their interests in the political system is a fundamental component of democracy, but its practical application is a common challenge for contemporary democracies.

Course Objectives

This seminar deepens students’ knowledge of the theory and practice of institutional tools used to encourage the representation of ethnic and religious diversity. After a short introduction to various theories of representation, specific topics include electoral system design, governmental set-up, parties and party systems, and multi-level governance as institutional arenas for resolving these conflicts.

Mode of Instruction

The course is designed as a seminar; preparation and active participation in the class sessions is expected. Group presentations will necessitate work and coordination outside the classroom at the student’s initiative.


Reaction Papers: 40% of your grade will be based on four short, two-page reaction papers. For these papers, I would like you to discuss one or more issue/s from the readings that you find important/striking/challenging /inconsistent/problematic. You will have five opportunities to submit a paper, but everybody needs to submit reaction paper 1 and 2.

Participation: Another 20% of your final grade will be based on class participation, including one group presentation.

Case Study Paper (40%) For this assignment, please choose one ethnically diverse country and write a 3-4,000 word paper in which you (1) describe the nature of ethnic diversity and the problems it has created, (2) describe the institutional solutions to the problems, and (3) analyze the extent to which these institutional solutions have been successful. The paper is supposed to be properly researched and to refer to the theoretical literature (at least to the one discussed in class).


Lijphart, Arend. Democracy in Plural Societies, Yale University Press 1977.

Norris, Pippa. Driving Democracy, Do Power-sharing Institutions Work? Cambridge University Press, 2008. Available online from Prof. Norris website

State of the World’s Minorities 2007

Articles for individual sessions will be made available through BB

Contact Information, tel: 071 5273907

Weekly Overview

Week 1 Introduction, Discussion of Further Work, Ethnic Diversity and Democratic Stability;
Week 2 Minorities around the World, Theories of Representation.;
Week 3 Descriptive Representation (Cont’d); Electoral Systems and Diversity;
Week 4 Governmental Systems and Diversity; Federalism, Decentralization and Ethnic Diversity;
Week 5 Ethnic Parties;
Week 6 Challenges to the Consociational Argument
Week 7 Case Study Presentations and Conclusions

Preparation for first session