CDSn4007 Comparative Perspectives on Democracy and Development

Faculty of Social Studies
Autumn 2024
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 8 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Taught in person.
doc. Marek Rybář, M.A., Ph.D. (lecturer)
Mgr. Deretha Bester, BA (seminar tutor)
Guaranteed by
doc. Marek Rybář, M.A., Ph.D.
Department of Political Science – Faculty of Social Studies
Supplier department: Department of Political Science – Faculty of Social Studies
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is only offered to the students of the study fields the course is directly associated with.
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
This is a mandatory core course in the Conflict and Democracy Studies Program. It focuses on broad questions of political, economic, and social development and on how contemporary political regimes work. We will concentrate on understanding and explanation of broadly conceived social and political phenomena that have bearing on the character of contemporary societies. In all substantive (i.e. not methodological) weekly topics we will focus on four interrelated questions: How could be the phenomenon under review defined, conceptualized and perhaps measured, how it is caused, what it itself causes, and how sure we can be about our answers to these questions. In other words, we will focus on defining and operationalization, and on related methodological aspects, plus we will conceive of the phenomenon as a dependent variable and also as an independent variable.
Learning outcomes
After successful completion of the course, the students will be able to:
identify the main paradigms used in the comparative political inquiry
describe and interpreter the key differences between various political institutional settings
propose ways to systematically investigate their consequences for the distribution of political power
systematically collect and evaluate empirical evidence and interprete them in light of established theoretical frameworks
  • Paradigms in comparative research: structure, rationality, and culture.
  • Comparative politics and the comparative method.
  • Development I: history, geography, natural resources.
  • Development II: modernization, demography, infrastructure.
  • The emergence of modern states.
  • No class - public holiday.
  • Ethnicity, nation, and nationalism.
  • Democracy and democratization.
  • Autocracies and the fall of democratic regimes.
  • State institutions: executive-legislative relations.
  • Democratic competition and political representation.
    required literature
  • Centeno, Miguel Angel. 2002. Blood and Debt: War and the Nation-State in Latin America. Penn State University Press, chap. 3, (pp. 101-166).
  • Nunn, Nathan. 2008. The Long-Term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades. Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 123, No. 1, pp. 139-176.
  • Comparative politics. Edited by Daniele Caramani. Fourth edition. Oxford: Oxford university press. xl, 605. ISBN 9780198737421. 2017. info
  • The Oxford handbook of comparative politics. Edited by Carles Boix - Susan Carol Stokes. 1st pub. Oxford: Oxford University Press. xi, 1021. ISBN 9780199566020. 2007. info
  • The democracy sourcebook. Edited by Robert A. Dahl - Ian Shapiro - José Antônio Cheibub. Cambridge: MIT Press. xii, 556. ISBN 9780262541473. 2003. info
Teaching methods
lectures, class discussion, individual and group projects
Assessment methods
Activity & File Cards (10%)
Research Diary (30%)
Midterm Exam (30%)
Final Exam (30%)
Language of instruction
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: every week.
Teacher's information
Fraudulent Fulfillment of Study Obligations Teaching at the Faculty of Social Studies, Masaryk University assumes that students are familiar with the study regulations and that they do not engage in fraudulent fulfillment of study obligations, especially cheating during exams and plagiarism, which involves presenting others' ideas as one's own and borrowing ideas from other authors without attribution. Plagiarism is one of the most severe ethical offenses in the academic environment, undermining the mission of the university and the purpose of studying. From a legal perspective, plagiarism is theft of intellectual property. Fraudulent fulfillment of study obligations cannot be tolerated at the Faculty of Social Studies. Every case of fraudulent behavior will be punished with the most severe sanction: unconditional expulsion from studies. We recommend that students thoroughly familiarize themselves with the issue of plagiarism and ways to avoid it.
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2020, Autumn 2021, Autumn 2022, Autumn 2023.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Autumn 2024, recent)
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