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.