Aula

The theoretical and conceptual foundations of democracy

Course

Democratic Theory

7.5 credits

Autumn

100%

Campus

This Master’s course covers the foundations of democracy, including core theories, crucial concepts, essential methodological perspectives and normative structures. You will examine democratic equality and virtue in relation to other values, to rationality, to conflict, and to the role played by notions of the common good.

Want to know why you should study at Södertörn University? Find out here.

Work with societal decision-making in a wide range of sectors Political Science provides valuable knowledge if you want to work with opinion-building, external analysis, public decision-making or administration. The subject is relevant to many professions and you can work in both the public and private sectors. Former students of Political Science now work in the Government Offices of Sweden, public authorities, the EU, news media and municipal administration in professions such as administrators, analysts or investigators. Studying in Political Science is beneficial for management positions in organisations and public administration, and is a good subject to study if you want to become involved with social movements or political parties. After studying, you will have wide-ranging knowledge of society in general. You will have gained the ability to think and reflect, critically and independently. One of the most important qualities you will gain from studying Political Science is the ability to see how societal resources are distributed and to understand why. You will have the ability to continually question rather than accept things, but also to discuss and deal with different opinions. Scientific studies in the subject teach you to work methodically with clear links to theory and empirical evidence. A degree in Political Science will thus also prepare you to move on to research. Read about research in this subject
Is there such a thing as too much democracy? This course explores the conceptual and normative foundations of democracy, the meaning of democratic government, and criteria for referring to political orders as democratic. You will analyse the relationship between democratic ideals and other values and objectives, such as fair distribution, conflict resolution, the recognition of special identities, notions of the good life, and theories of human rights. The course also covers classical democratic theories of citizenship, as well as theoretical cosmopolitan alternatives. Traditional principles of democratic consensus and the common good are critically explored in relation to notions of democracy as antagonistic. The examination of traditional notions of democracy as political community and a societal norm-giver is expanded to include discussions about economic and workplace democracy. Through this, you will gain increased awareness of the research context, becoming familiar with the major positions on some of the central issues in democratic theory, such as the value of democracy and political participation, and potential trade-offs between democracy and other important values. The course is built up around seminars, during which you will examine a selection of recent and classical works in democratic theory. Assessment is based on your participation in the seminar discussions, including written assignments, and a written report.
Learn to question, discuss, and deal with differing viewpoints Political Science focuses on politics and political decisions. An important issue in Political Science is how people make collective decisions on the distribution of society’s resources – who gets what, in what amounts and why? As an individual and as a citizen, you are constantly affected by political decisions. These decisions are linked to almost all contemporary and important societal issues – our rights as citizens and non-citizens, our personal security, our financial prospects, our education and our healthcare. In Sweden and many other countries, these decisions are shaped through democracy but, in practice, democracy can take different forms. When you study Political Science, you will discuss and investigate questions such as: How does representative democracy work, formally and in practice? How do wars start and how can peace be achieved? How is power organised and distributed in global politics? How can nationalism thrive despite globalisation? Why are political parties and political debates different in different countries? Studying Political Science allows you to analyse decision-making and power relationships and encourages critical thinking about society and how it is organised. You will gain a deeper understanding of how politics works, not only in Sweden but also in other countries and parts of the world. Södertörn University provides broad insight into the most important areas of Political Science, with an emphasis on issues relating to democracy and governance. The university conducts research into political parties, democracy and democratisation, leadership, migration and its consequences. Teaching therefore has close links to current research and modern theories.