PO3DDP-Democracy and Democracy Promotion

Module Provider: School of Politics, Economics and International Relations
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn and Spring (Double presentation)
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Adam Humphreys

Email: a.r.humphreys@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

The world is increasingly populated by democratic states. An increasing number of them, however, are hybrid regimes in which elections coexist with elements of authoritarianism.  Democracy promotion is intended to remedy this and has become a key foreign policy tool for both the US and EU.  Yet it has also become discredited, notably since the 2003 Iraq war, leading to a backlash against democracy promotion and the rise of populist forms of hybrid democracy.  This module explores the spread of democracy, especially the rise of partial or hybrid democracies, and the motives and means of democracy promotion and assistance. It is organized into two sections: the first examines the nature of democracy and the rise of partial or hybrid democracies; the second interrogates the ideology, means and record of democracy promotion and assistance. For an indicative list of topics covered, see the outline content, below. 


Students will develop knowledge of the range of institutional arrangements, ideologies and social, economic and cultural conditions consistent with “democracy” in the contemporary world and be able to draw on that knowledge to inquire critically into the merits of and problems with a range of approaches to democracy promotion and assistance. Students will also develop presentation and report-writing skills. 

Assessable learning outcomes:

• Ability to engage in critical analysis of types and degrees of democracy and democratization

• Ability to identify and analyse the background assumptions underpinning democracy promotion and assistance efforts

• Ability to engage critically with academic literature, policy reports, and public commentaries

• Ability to summarize information and arguments succinctly and communicate them effectively

• Ability to develop, formulate and express individual understanding

Additional outcomes:
Transferable skills:
•Information acquisition and processing
•Critical and analytical capacity
•Research and report writing
•Organization and time-management

Outline content:

(Module content is indicative only and may be subject to change).

Some of the topics covered may include some of the following:

What is valuable about democracy?

The spread of democracy

Hybrid regimes

Problems of democratization

History and ideology of democracy promotion

Democracy assistance

Forcible democracy promotion

The backlash against democracy assistance

Criticisms of democracy promotion

Democracy promotion in the Middle East

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The course is taught via 2hr seminars, plus an introductory lecture to each of the two parts of the course. Seminars will require student reading, participation in structured group discussion, and assessed individual and/or group presentations. 

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 3 6
Seminars 16
Guided independent study 100 75
Total hours by term 119.00 81.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 30
Report 60
Oral assessment and presentation 10

Other information on summative assessment:
This module is assessed by 100% coursework, consisting of
•One 2000 word essay, counting for 30%;
•One assessed seminar presentation, counting for 10%;
•One 4000 word research report on whether a major international actor (to be chosen by the student) should promote democracy in a non-democratic or partially democratic state (to be chosen by the student), counting for 60%.

Visiting Students will be required to complete all forms of assessment.

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:
    There is no examination

    Requirements for a pass:
    40% overall.

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Candidates who fail their final year normally have the right to be re-examined on one further occasion at the next opportunity. These candidates will not normally be eligible for Honours (ie., only a ‘Pass’ classification would be attainable). Students who are eligible for re-assessment have the right to re-assessment in all elements (coursework and re-examination) even if they have previously passed one of those elements. It is expected, however, that the majority of students would probably elect not to repeat an element in which they had already passed, in which case the confirmed marks would be carried forward.

    Coursework: Failed or missing coursework should be re-submitted by 1st August, emailed directly to politics@reading.ac.uk, AND submitted on Blackboard.

    Presentations may also be reassessed in consultation with Dr Humphreys.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding: There may be optional costs associated with photocopying or printing sources listed on the reading list relating to this module. Please note that the Library charges approximately 5p per photocopy.
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 31 March 2017

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