Democratic Development

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Conditions of Democracy is the first course in a two-part series intended as a broad survey of the political, social, cultural, economic, institutional, and international factors that foster and obstruct the development and consolidation of democracy.

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Learn Democratic Development with this free online course from Stanford University.

Democratic Development course description

Democratic Development is intended as a broad, introductory survey of the political, social, cultural, economic, institutional, and international factors that foster and obstruct the development and consolidation of democracy.  Each factor will be examined in historical and comparative perspective, with reference to a variety of different national experiences.  It is hoped that students in developing or prospective democracies will use the theories, ideas, and lessons in the class to help build or improve democracy in their own countries.

This course is primarily intended for individuals in college or beyond, with some academic background or preparation in political science or the social sciences. However, it seeks to be accessible and useful to a diverse international audience, including college students, instructors at the second and college levels, government officials, development professionals, civil society leaders, journalists, bloggers, activists, and individuals involved in a wide range of activities and professions related to the development and deepening of democracy.

Course content

  • Introduction and key concepts
  • The third wave of democratization and the democratic recession
  • Legitimacy, authority and effectiveness
  • Democratic consolidation
  • Political culture
  • Are democratic values universal?
  • Economic development and democracy
  • Civil society
  • Democratic transition: paths and drivers
  • Democratic transitions: types and means
  • Democratic breakdowns

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