Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC3131: The Revival of Global Authoritarianism

This module descriptor refers to the 2021/2 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.


NQF Level 6
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module will run during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Catherine Owen (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


Authoritarianism is on the rise around the world, whether in the form of growing hostility to Western democracy promotion, the roll-back of democratic governance in countries thought to have ‘transitioned’ to democracy or the growing popularity of populist politics within established democracies. Increasingly, democratic governance seems to be revealing itself as an historical anomaly, rather than a consolidating trend. But what is authoritarianism? How can we trace it? What drives it?
This module aims to help students answer these questions, and more, by exploring the international and domestic factors that sustain authoritarian politics. It will introduce students to the range of theoretical approaches, as well as the conceptual and methodological challenges in the study of authoritarianism, which will be explored through a variety of case studies, from the ‘classical’ authoritarian regimes to those considered ‘democratic’.

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