Spring 2020 - POL 430W E100

Democracy in a Global World (4)

Class Number: 5272

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM
    AQ 5049, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Eight upper division units in political science or permission of the department.



What is democracy and how can we measure it? Does democracy perform better than other regime types? How can we explain processes of democratization and de-democratization? The course explores these questions in a theoretically guided fashion making use of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Students with credit for POL 438 Selected Topics in Comparative Government and Politics I under the title Democracy in a Global World may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


As an ideal, democracy currently enjoys a widespread global popularity and legitimacy. Yet, as a form of government, it is widely held to be in crisis. For many, capitalist markets and neoliberal policies threaten to undermine the capacity for self-rule within nation-states. For others, the recent emergence of populism as a global political force constitutes the greatest threat. Most, however, would agree that democracy must be re-examined in light of a new global reality. What does democracy mean in the context of global financial markets, transnational communications networks, political formations such as the European Union, and global security regimes? What can it mean? Can democracy exceed the state form or is it bound firmly to it? Is cosmopolitan democracy on the horizon? This course situates itself within current debates on the state of democracies throughout the globe. Qualitative approaches grounded in the field of democratic theory will be utilized. This course is reading and writing intensive. A high value is placed on participation.


  • Short Essay 20%
  • Two Random Tests on Readings (5% each) 10%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Participation 20%
  • Major Essay 30%



Wendy Brown. Walled States, Waning Sovereignty. Brooklyn, NY: Zone Books, 2017. (ISBN 9781935408031)
ISBN: 9781935408031

John B. Judis. The Populist Explosion. New York, NY: Columbia Global Reports, 2016. (ISBN 9780997126440)
ISBN: 9780997126440

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html