IR4002 - Democrats and Dictators

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What will I learn on this module?

How can we distinguish between democratic and non-democratic regimes? How does the nature of the political system affect the dynamics of rule, representation, accountability and participation in democratic regimes? Similarly, how can we differentiate between non-democratic regimes and how do we explain their existence? How and why do some countries seek to democratise? Why do these efforts succeed in some cases but fail in others? These are the core questions that you will consider on this module, which is organised around four main topics: the conceptualisation of democratic and non-democratic regimes; political systems in democratic countries; the categorisation and governance of non-democratic regimes, and democratisation, paying attention to the role of domestic and international forces. Each of these topics is further underpinned by the themes of rule, representation, accountability and participation, which you will also explore in modules at levels 5 and 6.

How will I learn on this module?

Weekly lectures will outline and discuss core concepts, theories and debates, as well as introducing relevant country examples. In this way, they will provide an opportunity for critical understanding of the material and critical reflection too. Seminars will follow a more student-led, workshop format. Seminars will be organised around the four main topics that the module will address. For each topic, you will work as part of a team on a particular case study of your choice, building substantive knowledge of at least four case studies over the course of the module. Building skills in information retrieval and analysis is central to the approach taken in seminars. Developing your confidence in synthesising, explaining and discussing information from a range of sources is also a key aim of the approach taken in this module.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module is designed to foster your intellectual curiosity about the nature of political systems around the world and the debates about rule, accountability, representation and participation to which they give rise. You will be able to use your understanding of relevant concepts and theories to develop your own skills as an independent thinker and to inform your ability to reflect upon and discuss ‘real world’ cases and events. Particularly in seminars, there is an emphasis on creating a learning environment that gives you the opportunity to get to know your colleagues and hone your teamwork skills. In this way, the module seeks to develop a culture of peer support as well as support from the module tutor in the classroom and in designated office hours outside of it.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Appreciate how the nature of the political system, specifically the institutions of government and mechanisms of participation and representation such as the electoral system and party system affect the politics of rule, representation and accountability in democratic regimes.
2. Identify the main theoretical approaches to explaining democratisation; use these theories to ask pertinent questions and to discuss the success and failure of democratisation efforts in empirical cases.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3. To collaborate with others to research, devise and present a case study that shows clear awareness of the need for well reasoned and supported argument.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
4. To have respect for the opinion of others and to listen and reflect when your own opinions are challenged.

How will I be assessed?

The approach taken in seminars, outlined above, will form the formative assessment for the module. The summative assessment for this module will be an exam, which will test your knowledge of the core concepts and debates covered on the module (MLOs 1-2). You will be expected to draw upon the knowledge and understanding of the case studies you build in the seminars as evidence to support your arguments in response to exam questions (MLOs 3, 4). Feedback will be provided in accordance with department policies and procedures.

Pre-requisite(s)

n/a

Co-requisite(s)

n/a

Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code LV21

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Humanities

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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