Gain an understanding of the political, social, cultural, economic, institutional and international factors that foster and obstruct the development and consolidation of democracy. 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.
Democratic Development is intended as a broad, introductory survey
of the political, social, cultural, economic, institutional, and international
factors that foster or obstruct the development, and consolidation, of
democracy. Topics will be examined in historical and comparative perspective,
and reference 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
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 educators at the secondary 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.
Introduction to the Course, Why Democracy?
What Is Democracy? Regime Types
The Third Wave of Democratization and its Ebb
Legitimacy, Authority and Effectiveness
Political Culture and Democracy
Are Democratic Values Universal?
Class Structure and Inequality
Democratic Transition: Paths and Drivers
Democratic Transition: Types and Means
Presidential vs. Parliamentary Government
Parties and Party Systems
Choosing between Different Systems
Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict
Managing Ethnic Conflict
Horizontal Accountability and the Rule of Law
The Future of Democracy
Who should take this class?
We've geared the class toward individuals from all kinds of backgrounds who may already be involved in developing and deepening democracy, and who are now seeking more formal training and a comprehensive conceptual framework of the factors (and choices) involved in democratic consolidation. This includes development professionals, civil society leaders, journalists, bloggers, activists, government officials, and educators at the secondary and college levels. However, the course will be accessible and useful to a diverse international audience, so anyone interested in the subject of democracy is also welcome to participate.
What resources will I need for this class?
Course topics will be thoroughly covered in the video lectures, and assignments will be based on those lectures. We will also provide optional reading, free of charge, for those interested in further deepening their understanding of democracy. The articles and book excerpts are optional, but highly recommended, for those who wish to gain a greater mastery of each week's topics.
Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment after completing this class?
To receive a Statement of Accomplishment, students must watch video lectures and complete weekly assessments. They must also pass the final exam. A second, more rigorous track involves the optional reading. Students who complete bonus assignments and an additional portion of the final exam demonstrating knowledge of the readings can attain a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction.
What are some unique things that Democratic Development will offer?
In exploring a highly relevant subject, the instructional team will seek to implement diverse ways for you to engage with the material and interact with your fellow students. We know many of you bring in-the-field knowledge and unique experiences to the table, and we hope you'll share it with the Democratic Development community! You can also look forward to a special guest or two during the course of the MOOC.