Democracy and Democratisation in Contemporary Europe

School: School of Government and Society
Department: Department of Political Science and International Studies

Final year module

Lecturer: Dr David White

This module offers a comparative study of the wave of democratisation that set off in the mid 1970s and has swept much of Southern Europe, Latin America and Eastern Europe during the past two decades. The module will analyse the theoretical literatures on contemporary democratisation and regime change and will compare the experiences of countries emerging from different types of non-democratic rule, focusing in particular on the post-authoritarian democracies of Southern Europe and post-communism in East-Central Europe. It provides an overview of the most salient of the democratisation literature, the basic issues at state in the contemporary debates, and explores the concepts of `democracy’ and `democratic consolidation’.

The topics investigated involve the socio-economic, political and international dimensions of democratisation; the different possible paths towards democracy their consequences and the consolidation of democracy; institution building in new democracies; the development of political parties and party systems; and the territorial, economic and cultural aspects transitions to democracy and democratic consolidation. These topics will be approached from a comparative perspective, whereby particular attention will be given to the scope of comparison and concept formation in comparative politics.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student should be able to: 

  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of processes of democratisation, especially in Southern and East-Central Europe. 
  • Use the relevant conceptual frameworks to analyse democratisation situations in various areas of the world. 
  • Understand and explain the problems involved in the emergence and consolidation of a competitive party system in a new democracy. 
  • Demonstrate a sufficient understanding of the core methodological issues and key concepts in comparative politics.


  • 1,500 Country fact-file assignment (25%)
  • 2,500 word assessed work (40%)
  • 2 hour examination (35%)

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.