POL 4487: The Struggle for Democratization and Citizenship

3 Credits

How best to advance democracy—through the ballot box or in the streets? This question more than any other is what informs the course. As well as the streets, the barricades and the battlefields, it argues, are decisive in the democratic quest. If democracy means the rule of the demos, the people, then who gets to be included in “the people\"? An underlying assumption of the course is that the inclusion of previously disenfranchised layers of society into the category of the people, the citizens, is due to social struggles or the threat of such—an assumption to be examined in the course. Struggles refer to any kinds of movement for social change, from protests and strikes to revolutions broadly defined. This course seeks to see if there are lessons of struggle. The course traces the history of the democratic movement from its earliest moments in human history and attempts to draw a balance sheet. In the process it seeks to answer a number of questions. Did social inequality always exist? How do property rights figure in the inclusion process? What is the relationship between the state, social inequality and democracy? Which social layers played a decisive role in the democratic breakthrough? What are the effective strategies and tactics in the democratic struggle? How crucial is leadership? And lastly, can the lessons of the past inform current practice? A particular feature of the course is to read about the thinking and actions of activists on both sides of the democratic struggle in, as much as possible, their own words.

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All Instructors

B Average (2.933)Most Common: A (21%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

107 students
  • 4.34


  • 3.63


  • 4.58


  • 4.49


  • 3.00



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