Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

PAIR3040 Democratisation in Global Politics: why do some regimes thrive and others flounder?

Module Overview

Less than a century ago democracy was a relatively rare form of government. Today it is typically seen as the only legitimate type of political regime. Indeed, the language of democracy has assumed such usage that even dictators employ supposedly democratic mechanisms (elections etc.) to bolster their legitimacy. How can we explain this shift? Why do some countries choose to transition to democracy and others do not? Why are some transitions more successful than others? This course will consider this recent trend, situate it historically and in relevant theory, both from comparative political science but also political economy, historical sociology and development studies. In addition to the key academic literatures, the course will draw heavily on real world examples, including in-depth country case studies.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The dilemmas that confront political leaders and different levels of government.
  • The key theoretical debates as they apply to political leadership.
  • Key theoretical debates to practical, real world, policy problems
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Undertake an independent research project and apply findings to key theoretical debates
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Undertake group work and have developed core presentation skills.


1. Introduction 2. What is democracy? 3. Measuring democracy 4. Conceptualising Democratization 5. Modernization theory 6. Modernization theory in practice 7. Voluntarism 8. Voluntarism in practice 9. Historical sociological approaches 10. Historical sociological theory in practice 11. Civil society approaches 12. Civil society approaches in practice 13. Essay writing 14. Democratization and conflict 15. Democratization in divided societies 16. Democratization in America and Europe 17. Democratization in Latin America 18. Democratization in Asia 19. Democratization in Africa 20. Democratization in the Middle East 21. Democratization in Small States 22. Conclusion

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

2 hours of lectures per week. All will be recorded and posted on Blackboard. Lectures will be delivered either face to face or online only depending upon University and Public Health England Guidance at the time. Total of 24 hours of lectures (2 hours per week X 12 weeks) per module. Weekly student participation in online discussion boards. 1 hour per week delivered asynchronously. (1 hour X 12 weeks)

Independent Study114
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Christian Haerpfer, Patrick Bernhagen, Ronald F Inglehart, and Christian Welzel (eds.) . Democratization. . 

Grugel, Jean, and Matthew Louis Bishop. (2013). Democratization: a critical introduction. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Discussion board activity 25%
Research project 50%
Research proposal 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings