Global challenges to democracy

A.A. 2024/2025
Crediti massimi
Ore totali
Obiettivi formativi
The course addresses key factors challenging contemporary representative democracies, the causes driving "autocratization", the mechanisms of "democratic backsliding", and both domestic and international factors undermining the legitimacy of democratic systems. The course also introduces the students to some possible responses that representative institutions and political actors can adopt to strengthen public support for democracy. The course employs the comparative approach, which represents the mainstream method for testing hypotheses in the field of political science, and quantitative techniques for data analysis. Both aggregate-level and individual-level data will be investigated.
Risultati apprendimento attesi
By the end of the course, students will be familiar with the analytical tools to study the main threats to contemporary representative democracies and with a range of theoretical and empirical approaches to these problems in the broad field of comparative politics. Students will develop analytical skills in the critical use of data for understanding the social, political, cultural and economic stresses facing democracies across the world and innovatively engaging with these challenges in academic, government and NGO settings.
Corso singolo

Questo insegnamento non può essere seguito come corso singolo. Puoi trovare gli insegnamenti disponibili consultando il catalogo corsi singoli.

Programma e organizzazione didattica

Edizione unica

Secondo trimestre

The course starts with a brief introduction of the logic of the comparative method in political science. Then, it presents the concept of political support and its analytical dimensions and investigates those societal changes, institutional and policy factors as well as exogenous shocks that shape political support and institutional confidence. Furthermore, the course delves into the concepts of democratic backsliding, autocratization, populism and technocratic attitudes and how these phenomena are related to democratic support. In the last part, the course studies the causes and the consequences of corruption.
A prior course in political science and/or comparative politics is highly recommended. In its absence, this handbook is a good way to fill the gaps: Clark W.R., Golder M. and Golder S.N., Principles of Comparative politics, Washington DC, CQ Press 2018.
A basic knowledge of research methodology and statistical models (regression analysis) in social sciences is also recommended.
Metodi didattici
Lectures and individual or group activities in class or at home
Materiale di riferimento
The syllabus for attending students is based on a reading list that will be posted on the web pages of the course on Ariel before the starting of the course. Students should constantly check it out. In most cases, readings can be retrieved among the electronic resources available in the Unimi e-library; in the remaining cases, I will upload a digital copy directly on Ariel.
Non-attending students have to prepare the following books:
- Haggard, S. and R. Kaufman (2021) Backsliding. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Mounk, Y. (2019) The people vs. democracy: why our freedom is in danger and how to save it. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
- Van Ham, C., J. Thomassen, K. Aarts, and R. Andeweg (Eds.) (2017) Myth and Reality of the Legitimacy Crisis. Explaining Trends and Cross-National Differences in Established Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press (only chapters 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9).
Modalità di verifica dell’apprendimento e criteri di valutazione
The exam for attending students will consist of a written exam and a presentation in class (individual or in small groups, depending on the total number of attending students). The written test combines multiple-choice questions and open questions, aimed at assessing both empirical knowledge and understanding of the main challenges to democracy and the potential responses of representative institutions and political actors. Open questions also serve to assess students' written communication skills. Presentation and/or the written exam might be substituted by an essay to be written at home and delivered after the end of the course.
The exam for non-attending students will consist in a written exam combining both multiple-choice questions and open questions.
Lezioni: 40 ore