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ΙNSTRUCTOR:  Professor Marilena Koppa 

Course Description

The course aims to provide students with a comparative and theoretical understanding of the transition to and the consolidation of democracy, and to explore its various manifestations in Southeastern Europe. It begins by examining some of the main theories for the study of democratisation and their critique. Aspects discussed include the formal vs. the substantive concept of democracy; the theoretical and methodological underpinnings; the pitfalls of transferring theories initially constructed to interpret democratization in Southern Europe and Latin America to the analysis of the transformation and fall of state socialist regimes; the five arenas of democratization; and the distinction between transition to and consolidation of democracy. The second part of the course addresses cross-national issues and country case studies on Bulgaria, Romania, Albania and the states which emerged in the Western Balkans after the disintegration of Yugoslavia. The emphasis is on how democracy has evolved after democratic transition and has recently started backsliding. The development of democratic regimes in these countries is presented and interpreted, focusing on how democracy has functioned since roughly the early 2000s. Students are divided into small work groups which present specific themes in class. Selected themes may include the rule of law, corruption, and the balance of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government in two or more of the countries under study.