Analysis of Regime Change and Political Sociology

Course Description: 

Over the last four decades, the world has witnessed the transition of political and economic regimes - from autocracies to democracies and various types of political regimes in between. The current situation provides ground for disparate, and sometimes outright contradictory, diagnoses about the present state of democracy around the globe, its future development, and the interaction between economic and political processes. Clear non-democracies like China show economic growth rates that are overwhelming both in size and duration, while rulers in Russia and elsewhere could profit from a resource boom that has enabled them to devise sophisticated measures to secure their power and turn their political system into hybrid regimes. At the same time, popular uprisings in the Middle East and Northern Africa have brought down long-standing dictators and set in motion counter-reactions that have led in most of the cases to the (re-)instatement of some form of repressive authoritarian regime. Meanwhile, democracy is in crisis even in its heartland in the North-Western hemisphere, not least due to profound economic transformations and changes.  

This course is designed to give a broad overview of the literature on the processes of political regime change in the early and late 20th and early 21st century. There are four main parts: I. Core concepts and theories; II. Historical Perspectives; III. Contemporary Issues; IV Student presentations. The aim is to provide students with the analytic tools, theories, and concepts that enable them to make better sense of the current political processes in countries around the globe. The list of concepts discussed is comprised of, among others, types of transitions, (hybrid) political regime types, the consolidation, and the qualities of democracy. The topic of this course will be dealt with from a global perspective. We will thus attempt to capture cases and evidence from different world regions.