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Diversity: Conflict & Consensus



The peaceful co-existence of diverse societal groups (based on ethnic, religious, or economic etc. differences) in a single political system is often challenged by their divergent political aspirations. This course introduces students to the theory and practice of (democratic) institutional solutions to non-violent conflicts linked to societal diversity. Specific topics include electoral system design, governmental set-up, parties and party systems, multi-level governance and constitutional courts as institutional arenas for resolving these conflicts.

Course Objectives
Purpose 1: The course introduces students to various institutional approaches to resolving political conflicts linked to societal diversity.
Purpose 2: Students learn to understand the problems related to the representation of diverse societies, identify their potential solutions and use databases on minorities and democracy in their own research.

Methods of Instruction

Seminar discussions

Study Material

Norris, Pippa. 2008. Driving Democracy: Do Power-sharing Institutions Work? New York / Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (available for free online on the author’s website).
Lijphart, Arend. 1977. Democracy in Plural Societies: A Comparative Exploration, London: Yale University Press (available for free online via Jstor).
A selection of journal articles and book chapters, available from the (digital) library of the University (listed in the syllabus which will be posted on Blackboard prior to the start of the course).


Take home essay (1500 words, 30%)
Case study presentation and general seminar participation (20%)
Case study analysis (3000 words, 50%)


Students need to register for lectures and work group sessions in uSis. It is not possible to take a course without a valid registration. Please consult the course registration website for information on registration periods and further instructions.
Registration Exchange and Study Abroad students
Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to

Please note that there is very limited capacity for this course.

Admission requirements

Comparative Analysis of Political Systems