International Politics: Building Democracies from Conflict
Dates: 29 July - 16 August, 2013
How can we design, build and sustain 'democracies' in less than ideal circumstances? Some countries are at risk of being torn apart after the breakdown of authoritarian regimes, whilst others are struggling to deal with warring ethnic and national groups. We focus on difficult transitions to democracy as well as on threats to democracy and causes of democratic breakdown, including the threat posed by violent conflict, whether within established democracies or in newly democratising states. Building stable and peaceful democracies is obviously particularly difficult when they are beset not just by 'conflict', but also by large-scale violence and possibly a restive military. Why have terrorism and insurgency emerged in some states, but not in others? Why have some insurgencies and terrorist campaigns been successful, but not others? Why has the military involved itself in politics in some countries, but not in others?
We begin with the deceptively simple question 'what is democracy'? and what would a 'good democratic outcome' look like? We then look at threats to democracy. The first part of the course focuses on severe ethnic and national conflicts, which pose particularly dangerous threats to peace, stability and democracy. Many parts of the world have responded to these threats with negotiations among the main warring parties, and strategies of power-sharing, partition, secession, and federalism. We examine the advantages and possible problems with these 'solutions' before moving on to consider constitutional, parliamentary/presidential and electoral system design for divided societies. Throughout the course, we will mix conceptual and comparative discussion with special 'case-study days' when we look at one case in more detail.
For example: Case Study 1: Northern Ireland – examines how well established democratic systems manage violent conflict and terrorism, and evaluates the 'solutions' that have been tried in order to try and discover what might be successful. By contrast, Case Study 2: Iraq – examines the multiple difficulties of trying to build a new democracy following the overthrow of a brutal dictatorship by a US-led 'invasion' or 'liberation' force (take your pick). We will examine the great difficulties of designing and implementing a durable democracy, in the face of widespread violence, an 'occupation' force and growing tensions between Sunni's, Shia's and Kurds. To what extent can democracy be established by external forces via foreign intervention/occupation? Case Study 3: the Former Yugoslavia, will look at the collapse of the Yugoslav federation, the most dramatic ethnic conflict in Europe in recent times.
In the second part of the course, we will examine transitions to democracy in different parts of the world and the particular challenges that these transitions have faced. The two biggest waves of transitions to democracy in the last decades have been occurring in Latin America and Eastern Europe and we will give both continents/regions particular attention. Another part of the world which has been experiencing a recent (and rather problematic) transition to democracy has been the Middle East, and we will also give this region special attention, with a particular focus on the role of oil wealth.
Case Study 4: Venezuela and Bolivia will examine the way in which democratic institutions can come under pressure from economic decline, social polarisation and (in the case of Venezuela) a restive military. It will also consider the ways in which institutional decline led to the emergence of new and radical political leaders who are now attempting to introduce 'twenty first century socialism' in Venezuela and Bolivia despite the opposition of the US government.
Natural resource wealth shapes not only socio-economic modernisation, but also political development in various parts of the world. The abundance of oil, diamonds and other minerals may strengthen authoritarian leaders in some countries and foster conflict and disorder in others. Case Study 5: the Arab Middle East will assess the role oil wealth has played in the survival of authoritarianism in that region, as compared to the impact of factors such as Islam, distinct regional culture and colonialism.
How important were international influences, as opposed to domestic ones, in recent democratic revolutions in post-communist states? This question is examined in depth in the context of the dramatic 'coloured revolutions' in Case Study 6: Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine. Case Study 7: Eastern Europe examines the difficult challenges that the East European countries have had to confront in the course of their transition to democracy. They have had to strike a balance between the contending merits of presidential and parliamentary systems, and to transform their government institutions from primarily administrative bodies into executives capable of policy formation and authoritative decision-making. The accession of the East European countries to the European Union has meant that they have had to improve the quality of their governance, in order to be effective members of the Union.
Finally, in a round-table 'questions and answers' session we will attempt to sum-up and draw some general conclusions and lessons for the future.
There is no set text for this course. Course materials will be distributed in the first lecture.
Lectures: 35 hours Classes: 13 hours
Assessment: One essay and one written examination
Contenido del curso: 12 horas de clase semanales por las mañanas y conferencias y seminarios por las tardes en función del curso elegido.
Precio total: 3.980 €