Democratisation In Africa

Rule of Law, Democracy & Human Rights

Course Overview

This course covers the basic principles, theories, conceptual tools, and comparative methods useful for understanding the challenges of democracy and democratization. Events during the ‘Arab uprisings’ have highlighted the challenges of problematic and diverse transitions. Since the early-1970s, successive ‘waves’ of regime change have moved forwards and backwards.  The international development community has focused increased attention on the challenges of facilitating the transition from autocracy and the consolidation of democratic states. Advocates argue that democratic governance is a universal human right. Moreover, this type of regime is also believed to have instrumental advantages by helping people live wealthier, healthier, and more secure lives. Democratic states elect leaders who are thereby more accountable and thus responsive to the needs of ordinary citizens, including the poor. In addition, democratic governance is also believed to promote international peace and cooperation among similar types of regimes, reducing the causes of conflict and violence between and within states.

Course Objectives

There are many stages in the cyclical process of policy advocacy, policy analysis, policy implementation, and policy evaluation. Although useful for each of these, the course is focused upon the first and second stages, policy advocacy and policy analysis. That is, you will sharpen your understanding of the challenges of democratic governance and also understand the range of practical policy recommendations which reformers could adopt to strengthen the process of democratic governance.  The course will use a broadly comparative methodology incorporating evidence from a wide range of countries worldwide, including developed and developing societies.   This class is evaluated through mixed types of assignments, including a standard academic essay, a briefing memo and a professional report. There are no prerequisites for taking the class. Some visiting speakers will be arranged and announced during the course of the semester.

Course Outline

Part I: Foundations

  • Introduction: Roadmap of the course
  • Theoretical frameworks and concepts: classifying regimes
  • Concepts, benchmarks and indices: Liberal democracy
  • Concepts, benchmarks and indices: Governance capacity

Part II: Contextual Drivers of Democratization

  • Explanatory frameworks of democratization
  • Social determinants of democratization
  • Economic determinants of democratization
  • International agencies & democracy promotion
  • Civil society, protest politics, and revolution

Part III: Constitution building

  • The principles and practices of constitution building
  • Elections: free and fair electoral and party laws
  • Electoral management and electoral integrity
  • Inclusive legislatures and minority representation  
  • Executive powers: presidential, mixed, or prime ministerial
  • Decentralizing decision-making to local and federal levels
  • Independent media and social networks
  • Case study: Building the Libyan and Egyptian constitutions

Part IV:  Strengthening Civic Society

  • Culture and democratization
  • Briefing memo
  • Religion and democracy 
  • Social capital and democracy

Part VI: Consequences of democratic governance

  • Conclusions: Impacts on prosperity
  • Conclusions: Impacts on poverty and peace
  • Final Report

  

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