Democracy and its Discontents (PLIT10096)
Normal Year Taken
Delivery Session Year
Visiting students must have completed 4 Politics courses at grade B or above. We will only consider University/College level courses, and we cannot consider interdisciplinary courses or courses without sufficient Politics/Government/International Relations focus. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission, and priority will be given to students studying on exchange within the Politics department. **Please note that all Politics courses are very high-demand, meaning that they have a very high number of students wishing to enrol in a very limited number of spaces.** Visiting students are advised to bear in mind that enrolment in specific courses can never be guaranteed, and you may need to be flexible in finding alternatives in case your preferred courses have no available space. These enrolments are managed strictly by the Visiting Student Office, in line with the quotas allocated by the department, and all enquiries to enrol in these courses must be made through the CAHSS Visiting Student Office. It is not appropriate for students to contact the department directly to request additional spaces.
This course offers an introduction to the histories, theories and practices of democracy. Its purpose is to provide students with a systematic overview of the complex discourses on democracy today. What is democracy? Where does the idea of democracy come from? Has the idea one or many origins? Can democracy be justified, and if so, on what grounds? What are the limits of democracy? These, and many more, questions lie at the heart of democratic theory. The course will in particular focus on four central issues: (1) the historical origins of democracy in ancient Greece, and later developments in the Western hemisphere that have led to modern mass democracies; (2) the state of the contemporary debate in political theory, with positions ranging from minimalist to radical democracy; (3) recent changes in democratic practices, from new forums that exceed the nation state to novel mechanisms to reach inclusive and representative decisions; and (4) crucial challenges with which democracies around the globe are currently confronted, including the ever-expanding reach of market forces and the place of religion in the public sphere.
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Written Exam 0%, Coursework 85%, Practical Exam 15%
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