6 ECTS credits
156 u studietijd

Aanbieding 2 met studiegidsnummer 4022132ENW voor werkstudenten in het 1e semester met een verdiepend master niveau.

1e semester
Inschrijving onder examencontract
Niet mogelijk
Beoordeling (0 tot 20)
2e zittijd mogelijk
Dit opleidingsonderdeel is enkel toegankelijk voor werkstudenten.
Faculteit Sociale Wetensch & SolvayBusinessSchool
Verantwoordelijke vakgroep
Politieke Wetenschappen
Didier Caluwaerts (titularis)
Onderdelen en contacturen
24 contacturen Hoorcollege
132 contacturen Zelfstudie en externe werkvormen

Democratic decision-making has never been more celebrated and under threat at the same time. That is why it is crucial for future decision-makers and engaged citizens alike to critically think about the challenges that lay ahead. A tentative list of challenges that will be discussed thoroughly in this class could include among others:

  • Democratic myopia: democracies are increasingly faced with long-term challenges (such as climate change and an ageing society) but they are notoriously ill-equipped to deal with long-term decision-making. Central questions are: To what extent are democracies short-termist? And how do they cope with long-term policy challenges?
  • Democratic regression: the early 1990s witnessed a third wave of democratization, and raised hopes about the rise of liberal democracies. The late 2010s witnesses the rise of democratic disenchantment and backsliding. Central questions are: to what extent are democracies regressing? And what are the conditions for democratic regression?
  • Democratic innovations: as an answer to perceived legitimacy crises many democracies have recently started to innovate. New types of decision-making mechanisms are popping up, and the expectations about their effectiveness are high. Central questions are: what is democratic innovation? What types of innovations are there? And can they be considered a valid answer to the alleged decline of citizen engagement?
  • Democracy and technology: new technologies have been both heralded as a cure for the democratic malaise, and shot down as tool for democratic oppression. They create both possibilities for civic crowd-funding and filter bubbles that foster polarization. Central questions are: to what extent are technologies drivers of democratization? And to what extent are new technologies tools in the hands of the few at the expense of the many?
  • Democracy and inequality: recent accounts paint a grim picture of the impact of increasing economic, social and political inequalities on the functioning and legitimacy of democracy. Central questions are: How are democracies affected by inequality? And how can democracies stem the rise of inequalities?

Even though this is an advanced master class, the course is open to anyone interested in and concerned about the state of democracy, and willing to discuss the challenges to democracy.

Bijkomende info

The classes will be interactive and the students are required to show up, having read all the required reading materials, and ready to discuss their points of view.

The reading list varies every year, but a reference list with all reading materials (articles, book chapters and reports) will be made available through Canvas.


General Competences

At the end of this class, the students should have attained the following goals:

  1. Students have a thorough knowledge of the concepts and the most important theories from political science and can situate these in international political science literature;
  2. Students can independently monitor developments within one or more sub-domains of political science;
  3. Students can analyze concrete cases on the basis of their insight into the functioning of institutions and policy and decision-making processes;
  4. Students can position themselves in a critical manner with regard to international political science literature;
  5. Students can reflect analytically, independently and critically about current problems and policy developments;
  6. Students can independently report in writing about their research and explain this to researchers in a scientifically sound way and answer questions about it;
  7. Students can independently and on the basis of their own research develop a balanced argumentation and formulate and defend a reasoned standpoint.



De beoordeling bestaat uit volgende opdrachtcategorieën:
Examen Mondeling bepaalt 50% van het eindcijfer

Examen Andere bepaalt 50% van het eindcijfer

Binnen de categorie Examen Mondeling dient men volgende opdrachten af te werken:

  • Mondeling Examen met een wegingsfactor 50 en aldus 50% van het totale eindcijfer.

Binnen de categorie Examen Andere dient men volgende opdrachten af te werken:

  • Paper met een wegingsfactor 50 en aldus 50% van het totale eindcijfer.

Aanvullende info mbt evaluatie

Students will be evaluated in two ways.

  • Students will have to individually write one substantive paper (6000 words in English), in which they empirically or theoretically analyze one of the challenges to democracy. Students are encouraged to identify challenges to democracy they find particularly worrying themselves. Papers will be evaluated in terms of structure, substance and clarity. All evaluation criteria will be outlined in the course syllabus. 50% of the final grade will be awarded for this paper.
  • There will also be an oral, closed-book exam counting for 50% of the final grade.

Attention: Students cannot get a passing grade if they do not submit their paper, if they do not complete the written exam.

Partial grades for the paper or exam can be transferred to the second session as long as the student obtained a result of 10/20 or higher. Students should inform the instructor of whether they want to transfer their grade.

All papers will be checked for plagiarism using plagiarism software.

Toegestane onvoldoende
Kijk in het aanvullend OER van je faculteit na of een toegestane onvoldoende mogelijk is voor dit opleidingsonderdeel.

Academische context

Deze aanbieding maakt deel uit van de volgende studieplannen:
Master in de politieke wetenschappen: democratie en leiderschap