GOVT-659 Hybrid Regimes
Offered academic year 2010-2011
Since the end of the Cold War we have witnessed a surge in countries that combine multiparty elections with clear aspects of authoritarian rule. Many of these countries defy easy classification and are often noted as hybrid, semi-democratic, or electoral authoritarian. What are we to make of these new forms of authoritarianism, especially in an era where democracy is such a prevalent global norm? How do they differ from “older” forms of authoritarianism? What new sources of durability have these countries tapped into, and what sources of weakness have they exposed?
This seminar offers an opportunity for students to explore the current landscape of authoritarian regimes with a comparative perspective. The course is focused nearly exclusively on the post-Cold War era. Exploring these new authoritarian regimes requires students to reexamine many factors in comparative politics and international policy – the role of elections, the utility of seemingly democratic institutions, the relationship between economic development and political reform, and the impact of external actors. Importantly, a better understanding of hybrid regimes will helps students understand the dual challenges of improving governance and promoting democracy in the 21st century.
Prior classes in comparative politics, democracy and democratization are recommended, but not required.
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