12008 Contemporary Democratic Theories 1

Credits: 3 graduate credits in Democracy Studies

Prerequisite: Admission to the graduate program in Democracy Studies 2

The course is based on a reader edited by Emanuel Gutmann and Moshe Berent.

The fall of totalitarian regimes in the Eastern bloc, which constituted what was termed as the “third wave” of democratization, raised questions which were not part of the traditional debate on liberal democracy. Until the 1960s and 1970s, scholars adopted western democracy as their model. A variety of new democratic regimes and the fact that they developed in countries in which the socio-economic factors considered necessary for the growth of democracy did not exist, required a renewed evaluation and definition of democracy. The result was a shift in emphasis from the study of necessary and sufficient conditions for democracy to the dynamics of the transition to democracy and to the conditions for its consolidation. The aims of research changed as well: from theoretical studies of the development of socio-economic conditions in the West, to research aimed ultimately at providing political leadership with prescriptions for the crafting and consolidation of democracy.

Topics: Introduction – what is democracy? Democratic approaches – liberal democracy and radical democracy, modern democratic approaches, deliberative democracy, the debate on political participation; Problems in democracy and in democratic theory – democratic paradoxes; democratic arrangements (constitutions, minority rights, women’s rights), democracy and globalization; democracy, nationalism and multiculturalism.

1Students may not write a seminar paper in the framework of this course.

2Students who do not meet the entrance requirements may, under certain circumstances and with special permission, enroll in this course.