Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2103: The Logic of Democracies and Dictatorships

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (12 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Nils-Christian Bormann (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


Politics is the organization of human communities. This module introduces you to the key concepts that political scientists employ to describe central differences between the organization of such communities: the way they are governed. Central to our understanding of modern politics is the state and its form of government. The module will first trace the emergence of the state and then its type of government.

While discovering the language of comparative political science, the module also covers the grammar of the discipline, that is, the methods by which we study politics. Specifically, we will focus on the comparative method as the key tool to describe the similarities and differences between democracies and dictatorships, and use simple theoretical games to understand why countries democratize, or don’t.

Although we will spend considerable time thinking about concepts and theories, empirical case studies will inform all the questions we ask. In true comparative fashion our examples will stem from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

Teaching and learning for this module will take place in an interactive environment where students will be expected to engage fully with their peers and tutor as well as working independently. Lectures will give students a grounding in the key issues and debates pertaining to the topic under consideration. Independent study and seminars will help students to formulate, debate, and refine their own analyses of these topics.

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