Checking date: 04/11/2019

Course: 2019/2020

States, Regimes and Institutions
Study: Master in Social Sciences (325)


Department assigned to the subject: Department of Social Sciences

Type: Compulsory
ECTS Credits: 6.0 ECTS


Competences and skills that will be acquired and learning results.
Core Competencies Possess and understand knowledge that provides a basis or opportunity to be original in the development and/or application of ideas, often in a research context. Students know how to apply their acquired knowledge and problem-solving skills in new or unfamiliar settings within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to their field of study. Students are able to integrate knowledge and face the complexity of making judgments based on incomplete or limited information that includes reflections on the social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments. Students know how to communicate their conclusions and the knowledge and the reasons behind them to both specialised and non-specialised audiences in a clear and unambiguous way. Students possess the learning skills that will enable them to continue studying in a way that will be largely self-directed or autonomous. General Competencies Understand the main analytical tools from political science, sociology or economic history. Evaluate and compare different contributions to important social science debates from an analytical, methodological and empirical point of view. Evaluate the internal logic of a scientific publication, examining the consistency between theory, analytical strategy, indicators, results and conclusions. Understand and know how to synthesize the main theories into one or more contemporary debates in the social sciences. Specific Competences To analyze from a comparative, historical and statistical point of view (i) the main problems that arise in the construction of an institutional political order and (ii) the determinants of the political conflict. Identify the economic and social bases for the functioning of political regimes. Learning outcomes To thoroughly understand the comparative method. To understand the debate between case studies and the studies of variables. To understand theories about the nature of the State. To understand structural and agency theories about political regimes and regime transitions. To be familiar with the main theories about democracy and dictatorship. Mastery of the problems of measurement of political regimes. Familiarity with the debate on the measurement (dichotomous/continuous) of democracy and authoritarianism. Knowledge of the major debates on the determinants of political regimes: economy, culture, inequality, class struggles, international factors. Familiarity with the literature on the economic consequences of regimes and their methodological problems. To understand the theories that analyze institutions as being in a state of equilibrium. To understand the literature on the instability of presidentialism. To be familiar with the literature on types of authoritarian regime
Description of contents: programme
1. The comparative method and the problem of causality. 2. Methodological questions on case studies and variables. 3. State and nation theories. 4. Political regimes. 5. The determinants of political regimes. 6. Democratization theories. 7. The logic of authoritarian regimes. 8. The great debates on the autonomy of institutions. 9. Institutions as being in states of equilibrium. 10. Theories on the instability of presidentialism. 11. Determinants and consequences of electoral systems. 12. The latest literature on historical legacies and path-dependence.
Learning activities and methodology
TRAINING ACTIVITIES Theoretical class Practical classes Tutorials Individual student work TEACHING METHODS Presentations in the professor's lecture room with computer and audiovisual support, in which the main concepts of the subject are developed and a bibliography is provided to complement the students' learning. Critical reading of texts recommended by the subject professor: Press articles, reports, manuals and/or academic articles, either for later discussion in class, or to expand and consolidate knowledge of the subject. Resolution of practical cases, problems, etc. raised by the professor, either individually or in a group. Presentation and discussion in class, under the moderation of the professor, of topics related to the content of the subject, as well as practical case studies. Developing pieces of work and reports, individually or in group.
Assessment System
Basic Bibliography
  • Alesina, Alberto & Enrico Spolaore.. The Size of Nations.. The MIT Press.. 2003.
  • Ansell, Ben and David Samuels. Inequality and Democratization. An Elite-Competition Approach. Cambridge University Press. 2014
  • Boix, Carles. Democracy and Redistribution. Cambridge University Press. 2003
  • Boix, Carles, and Susan Carol Stokes (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics. Oxford University Press. 2007
  • Coppedge, Michael. Democratization and Research Methods. Cambridge University Press.. 2012
  • Dahl, Robert. Polyarchy. Participation and Opposition. Yale University Press. 1971
  • Evans, Peter, Dietrich Rueschemeyer & Theda Skocpol (eds). Bringing the State Back In. Cambridge University Press. 1985
  • Inglehart, Ronald and Christian Welzel. Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy. The Human Development Sequence. Cambridge University Press. 2005
  • Iversen, Torben, and David Soskice. Democracy and Prosperity. Reinventing Capitalism Through a Turbulent Century. Princeton University Press. 2019
  • Leibrfired, Stephan et al. (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Transformations of the State. Oxford University Press. 2015
  • Levi, Margaret. Of Rule and Revenue. University of California Press. 1988
  • Levitsky, Steven and Lucan A. Way. Competitive authoritarianism: Hybrid regimes after the Cold War. Cambridge University Press. 2010
  • Lipset, Seymour. Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy. American Political Science Review, 53(1): 69-105. 1959
  • Markoff, John. Waves of Democracy. Social Movements and Political Change. Routledge. 2016 (2nd edition)
  • Norris, Pippa, and Ronald Inglehart. Cultural Backlash. Trump, Brexit, and Authoritarian Populism. Cambridge University Press. 2019
  • Przeworski, Adam and Fernando Limongi. Modernization: Theories and facts. World Politics 49(2): 155-183. 1997
  • Rueschemeyer, Dietrich, Evelyne Stephens and John Stephens. Capitalist Development and Democracy. University of Chicago Press. 1992

The course syllabus and the academic weekly planning may change due academic events or other reasons.