States, Nations and Democracy focuses on the study of those conditions that made democracy possible and currently underpin its functioning. Three specific aspects of the topic are analyzed. First, the course investigates the nature and fundamental characteristics of liberal-democratic political regimes. Second, the relationships between the concepts of democracy, state and nation are explored. In particular, we examine the connections between democracy and the market and analyze the challenges that democracy faces due to technocracy and populism. Third, the course offers a study of key political attitudes and behaviors, focusing in particular on the voting behavior. The exam for attending students has two parts: a mid-term test and a final test (both tests are written). The tests aim to assess not only students' knowledge of the course contents, but also students' ability to use proper language and build arguments to discuss the course contents
Expected learning outcomes
Knowledge and understanding: The course aims at enhancing students' knowledge and understanding of the main theories about the following topics: democracy, relationships between democracy and the processes of state-building and nation-building, conditions underpinning the functioning of democracy. Applying knowledge and understanding: The course aims at improving students' awareness of the main challenges that democracy currently faces. Making judgements: The course aims at improving students' ability to analyze political phenomena. To this purpose, during the course students are made aware of major theories and relevant empirical data regarding states and their institutional characteristics, nationalism, political cultures and voting behavior. Communication skills: Students may be actively involved during the course. For instance, as an alternative to the written exam, students may be asked to prepare papers where they can enhance their own communication skills. These types of activities will be outlined at the beginning of the course. Learning skills: To the purpose of improving students' autonomous learning skills, during the course the teacher can invite students to actively participate to the discussion in class.
Lesson period: Third trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
ATTENDING STUDENTS: The program for attending students is organized in three parts. The first part deals with the concept of democracy and the conditions underpinning democratic regimes. The second part focuses on past and contemporary challenges to liberal democratic regimes. The third part regards elections and voting behaviour, with a focus on the Italian case.
Attendance is strongly recommended and will be regularly checked by the teacher. Attending students are expected to be present at least for 70% of classes (that is, 21/30 classes for those achieving 9 ECTS and 14/20 classes for those achieving 6 ECTS). Attending students will take a midterm exam and a final exam. Those who decide not to follow these rules will be considered as non attending students.
NON ATTENDING STUDENTS: The program for non attending students is organized in three parts. The first part offers an overview of the main topics of political sociology and is based on the following book: I. Ceccarini and I. Diamanti, "Tra politica e società", Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018. The second part, dealing with democratic representation and populism, is based on C. Mudde and C. Rovira Kaltwasser, "Il populismo", Mimesis, 2020. The third part regards elections and voting behaviour, with a focus on the Italian case. See H. Schadee, P. Segatti and C. Vezzoni (eds), "L'apocalisse della democrazia italiana", Bologna, Il Mulino, 2019.
Prerequisites for admission
Students must have passed the Sociology course. To obtain further information about compulsory preparatory exams, students can look at the programme description of their Degree. Students can also ask the Degree's reference professors and contacts for information.
The teacher will use slides and possibly other audiovisual materials. The teacher will suggest further readings to those interested in the topics addressed in class. Students will be asked to participate to small-group activities regarding specific topics and to discuss them in class.
- L. Ceccarini and I. Diamanti (2018), "Tra politica e società", Bologna, Il Mulino. - C. Mudde and C. Rovira Kaltwasser (2020), "Il populismo", Mimesis. - H. Schadee, P. Segatti and C. Vezzoni (eds) (2019), "L'apocalisse della democrazia italiana", Bologna, Il Mulino.
If Mudde and Rovira Kaltwasser's book is unavailable, students can instead study the following: C. Mudde and C. Rovira Kaltwasser (2017), "Populism: A Very Short Introduction", Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Attending students are expected to study a selection of chapters of the three above mentioned volumes. Selected chapters will be specified at the beginning of the course. Non attending students are expected to study all the chapters of the three above mentioned books.
Assessement methods and criteria
ATTENDING STUDENTS: The exam for attending students is written and includes both open answer questions and multiple choice questions. The course grade is based on a mid-term written exam and on a final written exam, as well as on the group activities (in small groups) that students will be asked to do.
NON ATTENDING STUDENTS: The exam for non attending students consists of a written test including both open answer questions and multiple choice questions. Students who do not have passed the compulsory preparatory courses will not be allowed to do the exam.