Numero di crediti :9

Semestre : 1° semestre

Comparative Politics

Settore scientifico disciplinare : SPS/04

Numero di crediti :9

Tipologia corso:corso

lingua: inglese

Data inizio corso: Thursday, 21 September, 2017

Semestre : 1° semestre

Iscrizione al corso : Closed
Obiettivi formativi:

Learning goals

1) Understanding the difference between "regimes" and "governments"

2) Distinguishing between "democracy", "partial democracy", "hybrid regime", "authoritarian regime", "totalitarian regime"

3) Understanding the varieties and types of democracy

4) Distinguishing between "transition" and "democratization"

5) Knowledge of the problems relating to the democracy and the democratization process

6) Analysing and assessing democracy promotion projects

7) Analysing and assessing democracy and democratization indices


Contenuto e articolazione del corso:

Preparatory module (4 lectures)

1. Democracy

2. Authoritarian and totalitarian regimes

3. Hybrid regimes

4. Transition and democratization


First module (8 lectures - Prof. Daniele Conversi): Challenges to democracy and democratization

1. The meaning of nationalism (and ethnicity)

2. The meaning of globalisation (and neoliberalism)

3. Cultural diversity under strain: Is neoliberal globalisation more destructive than the nation state?

4. Which sovereignty? From Westphalia to food sovereignty.

5. The crisis of democracy and the failure of democratic transitions

6. War and nationalism: Modernism and Westernisation

7. Climate change, the final challenge (Is the obsession with economic growth killing us?)

8. Future scenarios: Possible transitions to new economic systems. (Is degrowth possible?)


Second module (from November to December): Promoting democracy: problems, challenges, and possibilities

1. Imitation, promotion, imposition

2. Problems of democracy, problems of democracy promotion

3. Causes and causers: agency, structure, and strategy

4. Approaches to democracy promotion: developmental vs. politcal

5. Case studies

6. Working groups 

Conoscenze e competenze che saranno acquisite:
Prerequisiti ed eventuali propedeuticità:

Prerequisites for attending the course

Previous attendance of a course of politology or political science during the Bachelor's programme.

Modalità di valutazione dell'apprendimento e prova d'esame:

Kind of examination

Written essay and/or oral examination

A chi è rivolto il corso:

Target students

The course is addressed to the first year students - Master's Programme in Development and International Cooperation Sciences (LM 81 Scienze dello Sviluppo e della Cooperazione Internazionale) - Curriculum Economics for Development

Come ottenere la tesi:

How to request the Master's thesis

At the beginning of the second year, students can request the Master's thesis assignment by sending an email to

A short research project draft is mandatory.

Metodi didattici:
Modalità di valutazione della frequenza:

Attendance assessment

Attending students have to prove their presence by signing the attendance record at the beginning of each lecture.

In order to be considered as "attending student", only 3 lectures can be missed (starting from Thursday 5 October to Friday 15 December).


Testi d'esame:

Textbooks and academic articles


Attending students


Non-attending students

Project-work (please, contact Prof. Claudio Foliti, mail to:


Further readings (1st module)

Conversi D. (2012) Modernism and nationalism. Journal of Political Ideologies 17(1): 13-34.

Conversi D. (2012) Irresponsible Radicalisation: Diasporas, Globalisation and Long-Distance Nationalism in the Digital Age. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 38(9): 1357-1379.

Conversi D. (2012) Majoritarian democracy and globalization versus ethnic diversity? Democratization 19(4): 789-811.

Conversi D. (2014) Between the hammer of globalization and the anvil of nationalism: Is Europe's complex diversity under threat? Ethnicities 14(1): 25-49. 

Conversi D. (2010) The limits of cultural globalisation? Journal of Critical Globalisation Studies 336-59.

Conversi D. (2009) Globalization, ethnic conflict, and nationalism. In: Turner BS (ed) International Handbook of Globalization Studies. London: Routledge/ Taylor & Francis, 346-366.

Conversi D. (2016) Sovereignty in a Changing World: From Westphalia to Food Sovereignty. Globalizations 13(4): 484-498.  

Levene M and Conversi D. (2014) Subsistence societies, globalisation, climate change and genocide: discourses of vulnerability and resilience. The International Journal of Human Rights 18(3): 281-297.

Conversi D. (2008) Democracy, nationalism and culture: A social critique of liberal monoculturalism. Sociology Compass 2(1): 156-182. 

Conversi D. (2008) 'We are all equals!' Militarism, homogenization and 'egalitarianism' in nationalist state-building (1789-1945). Ethnic and Racial Studies 31(7): 1286 - 1314.

Conversi D. (2007) Homogenisation, nationalism and war: Should we still read Ernest Gellner? Nations and Nationalism 13(3): 371-394.

Conversi D. (2006) Mapping the field: theories of nationalism and the ethnosymbolic approach. In: Leoussi AS and Grosby S (eds) Nationalism and Ethnosymbolism: History, Culture and Ethnicity in the Formation of Nations. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 15-30.

Conversi D. (2006) Genocide, ethnic cleansing and nationalism. In: Delanty G and Kumar K (eds) Handbook of Nations and Nationalism. London: Sage Publications, 320-333.

Conversi D. (2004) Conceptualizing nationalism: an introduction to Walker Connor's work. In: Conversi D (ed) Ethnonationalism in the Contemporary World: Walker Connor and the Study of Nationalism. 2 ed. London/New York: Routledge, 1-23. 

Conversi D. (2004) Resisting primordialism and other -isms: in lieu of conclusions. In: Conversi D (ed) Ethnonationalism in the Contemporary World: Walker Connor and the Study of Nationalism. 2 ed. London/New York: Routledge.

Conversi D. (2004) Americanization and the planetary spread of ethnic conflict : The globalization trap. Available at: URL: 

Conversi D. (2001) Cosmopolitanism and nationalism. In: Leoussi AS and Smith AD (eds) Encyclopaedia of Nationalism. New Brunswick [N.J.]: Transaction Publishers, 34-39.

Conversi D. (1995) Reassessing current theories of nationalism: Nationalism as boundary maintenance and creation. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics 1(1): 73 - 85.

Conversi D. (1995) Violence as an ethnic border: The consequences of a lack of distinctive elements in Coatian, Kurdish and Basque nationalism. Nationalism in Europe Past and present (Actas do Congreso Internacional Os Nacionalismos en Europa Pasado e Presente, Santiago de Compostela, 27-29 de setembro de 1993). Santiago de Compostela: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Servicio de Publicacións e Intercambio Científico, 167-198.

Conversi D. (2015) War and Nationalism. In: Wright JD (ed) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences (Second Edition). Oxford: Elsevier, 363-370.

Further readings (2nd module)

- D. COLLIER, S. LEVITSKY, Democracy With Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research, World Politics, Vol. 49, n. 3, April 1997, pp. 430-451.

- A. SCHEDLER, What is Democratic Consolidation?, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 9, No. 2, April 1998, pp. 91-107.

- L. MORLINO, ‘Good’ and ‘bad’ democracies: how to conduct research into the quality of democracy, «Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics», Vol. 20, No.1, March 2004, pp. 5-27

- D.A. RUSTOW, Transitions to Democracy: Toward a Dynamic Model, «Comparative Politics», Vol. 2, No. 3, April 1970, pp. 337-363.

- G. O’DONNELL, P. C. SCHMITTER, Tentative Conclusions About Uncertain Democracies, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.

- S.P. HUNTINGTON, Democracy’s Third Wave, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 2, No. 2, Spring 1991, pp. 12-34.

- F. FUKUYAMA, The End of History, «The National Interest», Vol. 18, Summer 1989, pp. 3-18.

- M. MCFAUL, The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship. Noncooperative Transitions in the Postcommunist World, «World Politics», Vol. 54, No. 2, January 2002, pp. 212-244.

- S.P. HUNTINGTON, The Clash of Civilizations?, «Foreign Affairs», Vol. 72, No. 3, Summer 1993, pp. 22-49.

- S.P. HUNTINGTON, The West: Unique, not Universal, «Foreign Affairs», Vol. 28, November/December 1996, pp. 28-46.

- A. SEN, Democracy as Universal Value, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 10, No. 3, July 1999, pp. 3-17.

- T. CAROTHERS, The ‘Sequencing’ Fallacy, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 18, No. 1, January 2007, pp. 12-27.

- T. CAROTHERS, The End of the Transition Paradigm, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 13, No. 1, January 2002, pp. 5-21

- V. BUNCE, S. WOLCHIK, Favorable Conditions and Electoral Revolutions, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 17, No. 4, October 2006, pp. 5-18.

- L. WAY, The Real Causes of the Color Revolutions, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 19, No. 3, July 2008, pp. 55-69.

- A. STEPAN, J.J. LINZ, Democratization Theory and The “Arab Spring”, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 24, No. 2, April 2013, pp. 15-30.

- J. BROWNLEE, T. MASOUD, A. REYNOLDS, Tracking the “Arab Spring”. Why the Modest Harvest?, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 24, No. 4, October 2013, pp. 29-44.

- Z. LAIDI Z., P.J. COSTOPOULOS, Democracy in Real Time, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 18, No. 3, July 2002, pp. 68-79.

- L. DIAMOND, Facing Up to the Democratic Recession, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 26, No. 1, January 2015, pp. 141-156.

- R. YOUNGS, Exploring “Non-Western Democracies”, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 26, No. 4, October 2015, pp. 140-155.

- G. O’DONNELL, The Perpetual Crisis of Democracy, «Journal of Democracy», Vol. 18, No. 1, January 2007, pp. 5-11.

- S.P. HUNTINGTON, The Lonely Superpower. Foreign Affairs, Vol. 78, No. 2, 1997, pp. 35-49.

- F. ZAKARIA, The Rise of Illiberal Democracy, “Foreign Affairs”, Vol. 76, November/December 1997, pp. 22-43.

- J. SNYDER, One World, Rival Theories, “Foreign Policy”, 2004, pp. 53-62.

- M. CILENTO, C. FOLITI, Democracy: History of a Crisis Without End, "Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences", 2016, vol. 6, pp. 402-412