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GOVT3980 : Myanmar Democracy Assistance Policy Report – UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY – Sociology Assignment

Internal Code: MAS5523

Sociology Assignment:

The end of the Cold War marks the victory of democracy as the ‘best’ political system in the world. Yet many existing democracies today are fledgeling and of poor quality and are at risk of breaking down. This unit will provide an introduction to theories of the origins of democracy and dictatorship. Why are some countries democratic and others authoritarian? What causes democracy to break down? Why do some dictatorships eventually democratise? Few political events are as dramatic as the transition from one regime type to another, whether as the result of a military coup, a revolutionary uprising, or a negotiated transition. This unit will examine different types of political regimes across the world. We will pay particular attention to how democracies and dictatorships emerge, become consolidated, and collapse. We will draw on a diverse theoretical approaches and empirical findings to explain regime change.


1. Understand the various theoretical perspectives on what constitutes democracy and dictatorship

2. Have a deeper understanding of the origins, development and breakdown of democracy and dictatorship

3. Critically engage with key concepts, theoretical approaches and scholars of comparative politics broadly and more specifically with the sub-field of regime study/democracy

4. Understand the logic, trade-offs and application of basic comparative methodological tools in political science research

5. Know the meaning and fundamental institutions of democratic and authoritarian regimes

6. Appreciate the different qualities of democratic and authoritarian political systems and know how some key countries embark on similar political development but end up with varying outcomes

7. Identify the causes, limitations and dynamics of the emergence of political regimes


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