воскресенье, 17 ноября 2013 г.

Courses on coursera.org. Democratic development

The course Democratic Development is a survey by professor of Stanford University of political science and sociology Larry Diamond that implies combining video lectures watching with essential reading to find out political, social, cultural, economic, institutional, and international factors that foster or obstruct the development and consolidation of democracy. The course is crucial for understanding of the world situation in terms of democratic transitions, history of its development, and existing liberal democracies. The theoretical part of the course is mixing with the practical picture of allocating democracies around the world. Professor Diamond deals with various countries investigating into its political situation, civil society, liberalization and maintenance of the civil rights. It is the course illustrating why nowadays Russia cannot be referred to as a democracy and explaining the reasons according to which it is a worthy model of political order. it reveals the modern problems that democracy faces while establishing in this or that state. Therefore, it is an acute course that also offers an opportunity to talk to people from all over the world about the real environment in their countries. Moreover, it lists the sources useful for investigating the democratic issues what is helpful for further studying within the seminar session.

The syllabus of the course consists of 11 weeks studying of the proposed topics. It includes:

Week 1        Introduction to the Course. Why Democracy? 
                     What Is Democracy? Regime Types
Week 2        'The Third Wave' of Democratization and its Ebb 
                     Legitimacy, Authority and Effectiveness
Week 3        Political Culture
                     Democratic Consolidation 
                     Are Democratic Values Universal?
Week 4        Economic Development 
                     Class Structure and Inequality 
                     Civil Society
Week 5        Democratic Transition (Historical)
                     Democratic Transition (Contemporary)
Week 6        Constitutional Design 
                     Presidential vs. Parliamentary Government 
                     Parties and Party Systems
Week 7        Electoral Systems 
                     Choosing between Different Systems
Week 8        Ethnicity and Ethnic Conflict 
                     Managing Ethnic Conflict 
Week 9        Horizontal Accountability and the Rule of Law 
                     Controlling Corruption 
                     Democratic Breakdowns
Week 10      International Factors
                     Promoting Democracy
Week 11      Improving American Democracy
                     The Future of Democracy
Among the reading sources two books are mentioned. They are "The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World" by Larry Diamond and "The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century" by Samuel P. Huntington. In addition, a number of articles and books, journals that are important for understanding a particular issue of democracy, for example legitimacy or party systems, are listed on the site.
To receive a Statement of Accomplishment, students must watch the lectures and complete the quiz each week, receiving an average grade of 75% or higher. Students must also pass the final exam. If students complete optional assignments and pass an additional portion of the final exam that draws on the readings, they will achieve a Statement of Accomplishment with Distinction.

The course unifies the world community interested in democracy promoting and makes the discussions on forums among the members of the course possible. Besides that, the course is presented in social networks, such as Twitter or Facebook to make the communication and the accomplishment of quizzes easier. It is also possible to contact Pr. Diamond on the debated subject.

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