Campus

Democracy, Authoritarianism, and Totalitarianism

Overview: With the end of the Cold War and the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, many politicians, and even some scholars, proclaimed that Western-style democracy (and its economic half-brother, capitalism) had “won.” It was, in the words of Fukuyama, the “end of history.” Yet, looking at countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, and China—as well as a particular country only a few miles south of Florida—it is clear that democracy has not won yet. It may be winning (and even appears to be running up the score), but past “waves” of democratization have been reversed. Whether the current wave will be—or even can be—reversed is one of the subjects we will discuss this semester.

This course covers the three main “ideal types” of domestic political regimes—democracy, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism—as well as transitions to and from democracy. While we will discuss the “ideal” forms of these various systems and make normative judgments about particular institutional arrangements, this is not a political philosophy course. The emphasis will be on these regimes and regime transitions in practice. You will be exposed to causal arguments about the development of different systems, with a particular emphasis on existing theories about democratization.

Writing Development: To help Political Science majors improve their writing and be better prepared for law school, graduate school, or work, they take two upper-division “writing development” courses as part of fulfilling the major requirements. POSC 145 is such a course. The largest part of your grade for this course will be a 15-20 page research paper. We will go over the formatting of the paper in class, and you will be required to turn in evidence of progress on this paper during the semester. You will also have one short writing assignment. For this assignment, you will write a letter to a member of Congress about an aspect of United States policy toward democracy-building in any country of your choosing. Such letters are an effective way to get the attention of a member of Congress (or at least the member’s staff) and something you should do more often than you likely do.

Writing development classes combine instruction in the subjects of the courses with exercises specifically designed to improve students’ abilities to do cogent analytic writing. As such, you will be asked to develop clear, well-reasoned arguments in your writing assignments and present them using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. If your writing is unclear and laden with mistakes, you are unable to write well about any subject (including democracy, authoritarianism, and totalitarianism). In the “real world,” such sloppy writing will also affect—fairly or unfairly—how others perceive your work habits and even your basic level of intelligence. Thus, I take getting you to care about correct spelling and grammar very seriously, and they will be an important part of the grade in your two writing assignments. I am particularly appalled by the lack of correct apostrophe usage, so it is to your advantage to learn the rules for using apostrophes. The complaint that this is not an English course will fall on deaf ears, particularly since English courses these days seem incapable of helping students with their writing.

Requirements: During the semester, you will (1) show up to class and participate in class discussions (note that this requires you to have completed the readings before class); (2) take two written examinations (one during midterms week and one during finals week); (3) complete a short writing assignment (see the description at the end of the syllabus); and (4) write a 15-page research paper on a country that is either a non-democracy or a recently democratized country (see the description at the end of the syllabus). The various assignments will factor into your grade as follows: research paper (40%), short writing assignment (10%), the written examinations (20% each, 40% total), participation in class discussions (10%). Attendance and participation will also bump you up or down if you end the semester in the “gray area” between two possible grades. Cheating, plagiarism, etc. will not be tolerated and can result in a semester grade of F. Do not test me on that one; you will not like the outcome.

Attendance is required. In addition to participation being factored in your grade, more than six absences will result in your final semester grade being lowered by one grade (B to BC, for example) for each additional absence.

Readings: There are three books that you are required to purchase: (1) P. Brooker, Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics (New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000); (2) R. Dahl, On Democracy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998); (3) G. Gill, The Dynamics of Democratization: Elites, Civil Society, and the Transition Process (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000). Additional readings will be on reserve (both in hard copy form at the reserve desk [Memorial Library, 2nd floor] and electronically through the library’s Web site). Graduate students should do the “recommended readings” in addition to the required readings each week. They must also see me to arrange additional assignments.

Lecture/Discussion and Reading Schedule

*=Reading from the books to be purchased. All other readings are on reserve.

Part I: REGIME TYPES
WEEK 1 (JAN. 14-18): TOTALITARIANISM: IN THEORY.
Readings:

*P. Brooker, Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics, chapter 1 (pp. 7-20 only).
B. Moore, Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Boston: Beacon
Press, 1966), chapter 8 (“Revolution from Above and Fascism”).

Question: Among the various features of the totalitarian ideal type, is there one that is particularly defining of a totalitarian regime? Which one?

Recommended readings

P. Baehr, ed., The Portable Hannah Arendt, (New York: Penguin Books, 2000).
C. Friedrich and Z. Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship and Autocracy (1956), especially chapters 1 and 27.
J. Linz, Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000), chapter 2.

WEEK 2 (JAN. 21-25): TOTALITARIANISM: IN PRACTICE.

January 21: No class (Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday).
Readings:

*P. Brooker, Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics, chapter 6 (pp. 129-141 only).
W. Laquer, Fascism: Past, Present, Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), chapter 1.
E. Ginzburg, Journey into the Whirlwind (Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1967), pp. 3-97.

Question: Among the various features of the totalitarian ideal type, is there one that is particularly defining of a totalitarian regime? Which one?

Recommended readings/viewings:

G. Orwell, Animal Farm (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1946).
G. Orwell, 1984 (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1949).
The film Closet Land (1991), a disturbing film with Madeleine Stowe and Alan Rickman that you will either really like or really dislike. Either way, you will get a bit of a sense for life under totalitarian rule.

WEEK 3 (JAN. 28-FEB. 1): AUTHORITARIANISM AND “SEMI-AUTHORITARIANISM.”
Readings:

*P. Brooker, Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics, chapter 1 (pp. 21-35 only), chapter 9.

Question: Despite our thinking that democracy is “best,” authoritarian systems often have a great deal of support. Why have some authoritarian systems been so popular?

Recommended readings

J. Linz, Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000), chapter 4.

WEEK 4 (FEB. 4-8): AUTHORITARIANISM GETS PERSONAL: FRANCO, PINOCHET, AND OTHER “GREATS.”

*P. Brooker, Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics, chapter 6 (pp. 141-153 only).
M. Cooper, Pinochet and Me: A Chilean Anti-Memoir (London: Verso, 2001), pp. TBA.
“A Pillar of Shame,” Belarussian Review, vol. 13, no. 3 (2001), available at: www.belreview.cz/articles/1665.html.
A. Lagnado, “Why the Rural Millions Love a Dictator,” New Statesman, Sep 17, 2001, pp. 20-22.

Question: Is there a particular personality trait that “great” authoritarian leaders seem to share?
Question: Why does Belarus, a European country, still have such an authoritarian political system?
Readings:

Recommended readings
M. Ensalaco, Chile under Pinochet: Recovering the Truth (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000).
J. Linz, Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2000), chapter 3.

WEEK 5(FEB. 11-15): DEMOCRACY: ITS MANY FORMS.

February 11: Due, in class: A one-paragraph summary of the research paper (see end of syllabus).

*R. Dahl, On Democracy, chapters 4, 10, and 11.
P. Schmitter and T. Karl, “What Democracy is...and is Not,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 2: 75-88.

Recommended readings
As much of The Federalist Papers as you can get through in one sitting (but especially Nos. 10, 23, 29, 39, and 51).
A. Lijphart, “Majority Rule in Theory and Practice: The Tenacity of a Flawed Paradigm,” International Social Science
Journal, no. 129 (August 1991): 483-493.

Mar. 11-15: No class (Spring holiday).

Weeks 9-10 (Mar. 18-29): Causal Factors II: “Internal Structure.”

March 22: Due, in class: Your short writing assignment (see description at the end of the syllabus).

March 27-29: No class (Easter holiday).

Readings:

*R. Dahl, On Democracy, chapter 12, pp. 149-163 only.

*G. Gill, The Dynamics of Democratization: Elites, Civil Society, and the Transition Process, chapters 1 and 4.

T. Karl, “Petroleum and Political Pacts: The Transition to Democracy in Venezuela,” Latin American Research Review,

vol. 22, no. 1 (1987): 63-94.

B. Lewis, “Islam and Liberal Democracy: A Historical Overview,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 7, no. 2 (1996): 52-63.

*G. Gill, The Dynamics of Democratization: Elites, Civil Society, and the Transition Process, chapter 5.

W. Galston, “Civil Society and the ‘Art of Association’,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 11, no. 1 (2000): 64-70.

Question: Can democracy develop without a middle class? Can it survive severe economic inequality?

Question: Does democracy help solve, or does it instead reinforce, sharp divisions in society?

Question: Is “civil society” a crucial component of consolidated democracy, or a useless pile of conceptual mush?

Recommended readings:

B. Moore, “The Democratic Route to Modern Society,” in The Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy.

Week 11 (Apr. 1-5): Causal Factors III: “Internal Agency.”

April 1: No class (Easter holiday, cont.).

Readings:

*G. Gill, The Dynamics of Democratization: Elites, Civil Society, and the Transition Process, chapter 3.

A. Suarez, “The Transition to Democracy in Spain,” speech given at Harvard-MIT Seminar, May 25, 1983.

D. Levine, “Venezuela Since 1958: The Consolidation of Democratic Politics,” in J. Linz and A. Stepan, eds.,

The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes: Latin America.

Question: If democracy is really the result of specific actions of individuals, how can we ever develop models and theories that can predict its occurrence and prospects for survival?

Question: Revisit Karl’s article on Venezuela from Week 9. How does her argument differ from that in Levine’s article for this week on the same transition? Which is more persuasive and why?

Recommended readings:

M. Burton, R. Gunther, and J. Higley, “Introduction: Elite Transformations and Democratic Regimes,” in Higley

and Gunther, eds., Elites and Democratic Consolidation.

Additional Recommended Readings, TBA.

Week 12 (April 8-12): When Agents Create Structures: Choosing a Democracy’s Institutions.

April 12: Due, in class: Two-page (double-spaced) summary of your research project to date (see end of syllabus).

Readings

*R. Dahl, On Democracy, chapters 8-9 (and review chapters 10-11).

J. Linz, “The Perils of Presidentialism,” in Diamond and Plattner, eds., The Global Resurgence of Democracy.

D. Horowitz, “Comparing Democratic Systems,” in Diamond and Plattner, eds., The Global Resurgence of Democracy.

S. M. Lipset, “The Indispensability of Political Parties,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 11, no. 1 (2000): 48-55.

Question: In what situations is a parliamentary system better, and worse, for stability than a presidential one?

Question: In a democratic country with a highly educated population, are political parties really necessary?

Recommended readings:

C. Sunstein, Designing Democracy: What Constitutions Do (2001).

W. Reisinger, “Choices Facing the Builders of Liberal Democracy,” in Robert Grey, ed., Democratic Theory and Post-

Communist Change (1997), pp. 24-44 only.

Week 13 (Apr. 15-19): Economic Reform, Market Economics, and Democratization.

Readings:

*R. Dahl, On Democracy, chapters 13-14.

R. Dahl, “Equality versus Inequality,” PS: Political Science and Politics, vol. 29, no. 4 (December 1996): 639, 645-648.

V. Bunce, “Democratization and Economic Reform,” Annual Review of Political Science, vol. 4 (2001): 43-65.

Question: How can democracies with market economies deal with the problem of economic inequality leading to political inequality? Should they even try?

Question: Should countries facing both economic reform and democratization do both at the same time, or one before the other? If the latter, which one should they attempt first?

Recommended readings:

N. Bermeo, “Sacrifice, Sequence, and Strength in Successful Dual Transitions: Lessons from Spain,” Journal of Politics,

vol. 56, no. 3 (August 1994): 601-627.

D. Glinksi and P. Reddaway, “The Ravages of ‘Market Bolshevism’,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 10, no. 2 (1999): 19-34.

Part III: REGIME TRANSITIONS: DEMOCRATIC BREAKDOWN

Week 14 (April 22-26): Why Democracies Collapse.

April 26: Due, in class. Your research paper. (Reminder: Look again—carefully—at the specifics of the assignment at the end of the syllabus as well as the “writing guidelines” handout from earlier in the semester).

Readings:

*P. Brooker, Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics (New York : St. Martin's Press, 2000), chapter 3.

T. Karl, “Economic Inequality and Democratic Instability,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 11, no. 1 (2000): 149-156.

Question: What causal factors seem most responsible for the breakdown of democratic systems? To what extent does your answer to this question raise concerns for the future of the most recently established democratic systems?

Recommended readings:

J. Linz and A. Stepan, eds., The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978),

Part I, and whatever cases interest you.

Part IV: Conclusion

Week 15 (Apr. 29-May 3): The Future of Democracy: Breakdown, Continued “Waves,” or Outright Victory?

Readings:

*P. Brooker, Non-Democratic Regimes: Theory, Government and Politics, chapter 10.

*R. Dahl, On Democracy, chapters 2, 3, and 15.

R. Putnam, “Bowling Alone” in B. Brown, ed., Comparative Politics: Notes and Readings, 9th edition (Fort Worth:

Hardcourt, 2000), pp. 265-274.

Question: Has democracy won? What will be more likely in the near future, that non-democracies will turn democratic or that democracies will turn non-democratic?

Question: Does it really matter for the future of democracy in America that people are “bowling alone”?

Recommended readings:

A. Varshney, “Why Democracy Survives,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 9, no. 3 (1999): 36-50.

S. Huntington, “After Twenty Years: The Future of the Third Wave,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 8, no. 4 (1997): 3-12.

G. Nodia, “The End of Revolution?,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 11, no. 1 (2000): 164-171.

M. McFaul, “A Mixed Record, An Uncertain Future,” Journal of Democracy, vol. 12, no. 4 (2001): 87-94.

(And to remind you that we have not always been so supportive of democracy…) A. Garfinkle et al., The Devil and

Uncle Sam: A Users Guide to the Friendly Tyrants Dilemma (New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 1992).

May 10: 1:00-3:00 p.m.: Exam #2 (on weeks 9-15).

POSC 145 Writing Assignments

Short Writing Assignment

March 22: Due, in class: Write a letter to your (Wisconsin or home-state) US Congressional Representative or write to either of your US senators. The letter must criticize US efforts (or lack of such efforts) at facilitating democracy in a particular country. What, specifically, do you think the US government should be doing differently, and why? The letter must be single-spaced and no more than two pages. The letter must also be in an acceptable business-letter format and include the date, the address of the person to whom you are writing, and your contact information.


Research Paper Assignment

February 11: Due, in class: One-paragraph summary of (1) which of the two research paper questions you will answer, (2) which country you are likely to examine, and (3) why it appears to be a good case for that question.

April 12: Due, in class: Two-page (double-spaced) summary of your research project to date. Which question did you choose, and which country did you choose? How does that country fit with the discussions of causal factors we have had? Are there any (tentative) conclusions/lessons from your case? The last half-page should be a (single-spaced) list of sources.

April 26: Due, in class:

In around 15 pages (this means no more than 16!), with 1 inch margins and 12 pt. CG Times or Times New Roman font, answer one of the two questions below. This is a research paper. I expect you to find information about the country that you are choosing. You should look not only at news magazines like The Economist but also at books and scholarly journals that may carry articles on your country. Be aware of the dates of your sources, and do not assume that a book with a 2002 copyright was written in 2002. You are responsible for knowing the current structure of the political system of the country you choose, as well as its current economic and social conditions. We will discuss citation and other formatting issues in class.

(1) Choose a non-democratic country anywhere in the world. Describe the elements of the political system that make this a non-democracy, and provide a brief explanation for how they got that way. Then, employing the various causal factors and theoretical arguments about them that we have examined this semester, assess the prospects for democratization occurring in this country in the near term (next three to five years) and medium term (next ten to twenty years). Of the various factors you examine, which ones should scholars be paying especially close attention to in this case, and why?

OR

(2) Choose a country anywhere in the world that has democratized in the last ten to fifteen years but that you consider to be a consolidated democracy. Paying particular attention to the transition from established to consolidated democracy, explain the democratization process in this country, employing the various causal factors and theoretical arguments about them that we have examined this semester. Given its relative infancy, why are you so confident that this democracy is already consolidated? What lessons can we draw from this case about democratic consolidation in other cases?


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Marquette University
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