The Rise and Fall of Democracy POLITIC4139

  • Academic Session: 2019-20
  • School: School of Social and Political Sciences
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines the rise and fall of democracy. It focuses on the processes by which states move toward, or away from, a democratic political system, and examines the role played by factors such as economic development, political culture, class conflict, and international actors.


This course may not be running this year. For further information please check the Politics Moodle page or contact the subject directly.

Requirements of Entry

Mandatory Entry Requirements

Entry to Honours Politics requires a grade point average of 12 (Grade C) over Politics 2A and Politics 2B as a first attempt.

Excluded Courses





■ One written essay, of 2,500 words, worth 50% of the total course grade. Students will apply theories from the course to explain a case of democratisation, democratic failure, consolidation, or autocratic failure.

One examination, of 90 minutes' duration, worth 50% of the total course grade. Students will write essays in response to two (of six provided) questions.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses


Course Aims

This course aims to introduce to students theories explaining how democratic political systems emerge, and how they fail. The course further aims to offer students an opportunity to apply these theories to historical or contemporary examples of democratic success or failure.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ describe the concepts of democracy, autocracy, democratisation and consolidation of democracy;

■ interpret and appraise quantitative and qualitative measures of democracy;

■ describe the dynamics of democratisation and/or democratic consolidation in one or more countries;

■ explain the major theories of democratisation and democratic consolidation;

■ critically evaluate quantitative and qualitative research on the rise and fall of democracy;

■ explain historical or contemporary cases of democratic success or failure by applying theories of democratisation and democratic consolidation.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.