PrF:MVV265K Direct Democracy - Course Information

MVV265K Direct Democracy and European Integration

Faculty of Law
Autumn 2018
Extent and Intensity
0/1/0. 5 credit(s). Type of Completion: k (colloquium).
Prof. Dr. Martin Belov (lecturer), doc. JUDr. Ing. Michal Radvan, Ph.D. (deputy)
doc. JUDr. Ing. Michal Radvan, Ph.D.
Faculty of Law
Contact Person: Mgr. Věra Redrupová, B.A.
Supplier department: Faculty of Law
Timetable of Seminar Groups
MVV265K/01: Tue 16. 10. 16:00–17:40 025, 18:00–19:40 025, Wed 17. 10. 8:00–9:40 025, 10:00–11:40 126, 18:00–19:40 025
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.

The capacity limit for the course is 30 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 30/30, only registered: 2/30
Fields of study the course is directly associated with
there are 37 fields of study the course is directly associated with, display
Course objectives
The course “Direct Democracy and European Integration” is devoted to the presentation and discussion of several important issues of the role of direct democracy in the European multilevel constitutionalism. Is the EU sufficiently democratic? Which are the features of the democratic deficit of the EU? What are the main elements of the emerging supranational constitutionalism in the EU? Will the European constitutionalism remain democratic and what is and will be the shape of the supranational democracy? Does the direct democracy contribute to the “democratization of the democracy” in the EU (C. Offe)? Is it possible to have real direct democracy on the EU level? What is the contribution of the European citizens’ initiative and the elections for European Parliament to the compensation of the democratic deficit of the EU? Which are the national forms of direct democracy provided by the domestic constitutions of the EU member states? Which are the most important instances of national referenda on EU issues and did they contribute to the strengthening of the democratic features of both the EU and the constitutional system of the respective member state? These are just some of the main topics which will be analyzed and discussed during the course.
  • 1. The concept of direct democracy. Differences between the direct, participatory, deliberative and representative democracy.
  • 2. General comparative classification of the forms of direct democracy. Comparative classification of the referenda and the people’s initiatives
  • 3. Main characteristics of the supranational constitutionalism of the EU
  • 4. Challenges to democracy produced by the European integration, the globalization and the emergence of supranational constitutionalism. The democratic deficit of the EU
  • 5. The potential of the direct democracy to serve as remedy for the crisis of democracy in the epoch of the late Westphalian statehood and the early postmodern and post-Westphalian age
  • 6. Direct democracy in the EU Member States
  • 7. EU related national referenda – classification and principle issues. Important EU related national referenda
  • 8. The Brexit referendum in the UK
  • 9. The European citizens’ initiative
  • 10. Direct democracy and European constitutionalism
  • See Teacher’s Information for full details.
Teaching methods
lectures, discusions
Assessment methods
• active participation in class/discussions on key issues
• 1 homework/essay* (3500 words in length)
Essays will be submitted via Homework Vaults/Odevzdávárna in MU IS.

• 20 % active participation in class/discussions on key issues
• 80 % homework (essay)

20 % of the final mark of the students will be determined on the basis of their regular presence and active participation in the discussions during the course. Since the teaching will be partially based on the use of the Socratic method which presumes the high degree of involvement of the students in the deliberation of the subject matter active participation in the academic discussions on key issues will be highly appreciated. The main criteria for evaluation of the quality of the participation will be not just its intensity but especially the ability to formulate coherent and consistent argumentation and well-informed opinion which demonstrates the possession of both knowledge and intellectual creativity by the student. The successful written presentation of scientific essay as a homework forms 80 % of the final note. The length of the essay should be approximately 3500 words (title, name, footnotes and literature included) with possible deviation of 350 words. The topic of the essay must be chosen out of a list of possible themes which will be presented to the students by the professor. The essay has to be presented via e-mail to the professor not later than 14 days after the end of the course.

In the course of writing the essay the students have to comply with the following structure:
• Introduction. Here the students have to provide the reasons why the topic of the essay is actual and interesting, what are the main goals that will be achieved by the research, what are the key issues that are going to be discussed and eventually what is the methodology that is going to be used. The introduction should be between 200 and 450 words.
• Main part. The students may structure it in sections or may preserve it as not internally structured part of the essay depending on the choice of the theme and the way they want to present it. This part of the essay must be devoted to analysis of the key issues of which the theme is composed. The students may use different scientific approaches to the theme which will be clarified during the lectures.
• Conclusion. Here the students have to sum up the main results of the research. They have to summarize in structured way the most important findings of their analysis and eventually propose solutions or raise questions for further research. The conclusion should be between 300 and 500 words.

The evaluation of the essay will be based on the following criteria:
• Logical argumentation – 20 %
• Originality of the argumentation – 20 %
• Academic style matching the criteria for academic writing – 20 %
• Informative content – 20 %
• Demonstration of sufficient knowledge of the scientific literature – 20 %
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
Study Materials
The course is taught only once.

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