English translation of course syllabus

Translation of the Swedish course syllabus

Democratic Theory, 7.5 credits

(Demokratiteori, 7.5 högskolepoäng)

Course code 1125ST
Subject area Political Science
Main field of study Political Science
Progressive specialisation A1N (Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements)
Academic school School of Social Sciences
Disciplary domain Social sciences 100%
Grading scale AF
Education cycle Second-cycle (Master)
Language of instruction English
Valid from Autumn semester 2020


This course syllabus was validated by the Faculty Board for the Faculty Board for Social Sciences  at Södertörn University on 2020-02-13 according to the stipulations in the Higher Education Ordinance.

Entry requirements

Bachelor's degree including 90 credits in Social Sciences as the main field of study, and English B or equivalent

Learning outcomes

On completing the course, the student can:

  • relate democratic theory to the wider field of political theory and its key concepts, such as justice and political community, and to other subfields within political science.
  • analyse research contexts relevant to democratic theory and display familiarity with seminal contributions and positions in a range of key questions for democratic theory, such as the value of democracy and political participation as well as possible goal conflicts between democracy and other values.
  • develop arguments in connection with democratic-theoretical research and deploy democratic-theoretical concepts and normative imaginaries in order to understand current political issues and debates.
  • discuss and critique normative and conceptual positions in relation to democratic ideals and their implications, as well as to adjacent questions and problems in political theory.

Course content, modules and examinations

This course explores the conceptual and normative foundations of democracy, the meaning of democratic rule, and criteria for a democratic order. Relationships between democratic ideals and other values and goals, such as just distribution, conflict resolution, recognition of specific identities, perceptions of the good life, and human rights theory, are scrutinised. Is it possible to have too much democracy or is more democracy always preferable? The course both works with classical theories of democratic citizenship that require clear demarcations between nation states carrying inherent patriotic sentiments and more cosmopolitan democratic suggestions. It further critically investigates the democratic principles of consensus and to what extent democracy hinges on conflict. Exploration of ideas of democracy as political community and societal norm-giver are complemented with discussions of economic democracy and workplace democracy.

Following an introduction to basic democratic-theoretical ideas - including pivotal democratic concepts, core methodological approaches, and normative structures - the course is devoted to unpacking a range of kernel democratic-theoretical notions; such as the importance of political participation, how to assess democratic equality and virtue in relation to other values, to rationality, to conflict, and to the role played by ideas of the common good. The relationship between democracy, borders, and nation-statehood is also addressed.

1001, Democratic Theory, 7.5 credits

(Demokratiteori, 7.5 högskolepoäng)

Grades permitted: AF

Course design

Teaching on the course consists of seminars.

Examination format

Course examination is based on active participation in seminars and written assignments.

Absence from a maximum of two seminars may be compensated for by written assignments according to instructions.

The grading criteria are distributed prior to the start of a course or module.

If a student has a certificate from Södertörn University for compensatory support, the examiner has the right to decide on an adapted examination or alternative form of examination in accordance with Södertörn University's regulations.

Restrictions on accreditation

The course may not be accredited as part of a degree if the contents are partly or wholly the same as a course previously taken in Sweden or elsewhere.

Other stipulations

The course may not be accredited as part of a degree if the contents are partly or wholly the same as a course previously taken in Sweden or elsewhere.