Global Meanings of Democracy What do politicians, activists, and voters refer to when they demand or promise more democracy? Different cultural and socio-economic conditions lead to different meanings of democracy in various countries and regions and thus to different expectations of what democracy and its institutions can and should achieve. At the same time, many methodological approaches are still bound by Eurocentric perspectives and therefore limit the data that is gathered in various contexts. In the course, we discuss the state of the art of comparative political theory and democracy theories and look at local and alternative notions of democracy by focussing on various case studies. The focus lies on secondary literature, but we also draw on some primary texts such as speeches.
By drawing on readings from comparative politics, sociology, history, and anthropology, this course will allow students to understand democracy theories from global perspectives. By the end of the course, students should possess:
- A historical understanding of the contingent nature of liberal democracy
- A critical perspective on contemporary ways of measuring democracy
- A descriptive understanding of select alternative meanings and understandings of democracy
By the end of the course, students should have the vocabulary and knowledge to discuss various complementary and competing meanings of democracy in world politics. This skill will be obtained through writing, critical thinking, group work, and seminar discussions, and should be useful both inside and outside the classroom