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Conflict and Democracy




Admission requirements

  • Classes of 2013-2016: a 100-level WP course, ideally Introduction to Peace & Conflict Studies, or permission from the instructor.

Course description

The course will explore the relationship between conflict and democracy in plural societies. Since the 1990s and the wave of democratization in Eastern Europe and worldwide, it has become clear that there is no single solution for conflicts in societies characterized by religious, racial, ethnic, class or gender cleavages. Finding politically viable answers for the increasing clashes of minorities and majorities over issues such as language rights, regional autonomy, political representations, natural resources claims and immigration policies has become the greatest challenge facing democracies today.

Learning objectives

  • Introduce theories on democracy in plural society

  • Discuss social pluralism and citizenship (how to achieve an inclusive citizenship in plural societies)

  • Discuss state-society relation in specific countries or regions

  • Look at different conceptions and institutional forms of democracy (power sharing, presidential versus parliamentary government, proportional vs. majoritarian election systems, consociational and consensus democracy)

  • Apply theories to a number of study cases (South East Asia, Africa, Europe)

Mode of instruction

The course is taught through two-hour seminars. Students will be expected to participate in both large and small group discussions, and present and defend their ideas within an academic setting. The instructor will facilitate and ensure the efficient running of the discussion. Each seminar has a required reading list that must be read in advance of each seminar. Students are advised to read some of the suggested readings.