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Citizens and the State. Democratic, Hybrid and Authoritarian Regimes


Beginn04.11.2020 | 14:00

Mittwoch, 14-16 Uhr

Why and how do citizens unite in associations or civic organizations? What are the context conditions for societal self-organization in different political regimes? This course looks into state-society relations in democratic, hybrid and authoritarian regimes. We will focus on civil society organizations and social movements as forms of societal self-organization and interest representation. The course will start with an introduction to the theories of civil society as an “arena of collective action around shared interests, purposes and values” (Almond & Verba 1989). We will learn about the evolution of civil society theories and their application in present-day research and practice.


The course is divided into three parts. In the first part of the course we will discuss how the relationship between citizens and the state is theorized in Comparative Politics and to what extent civil society development is shaped by the context of the political regime. The second part of the course will be devoted to number of empirical case studies which look into civil society development in democratic, hybrid and authoritarian political regimes in Europe. In particular, we will study civil society development in Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Hungary and Russia. Special attention will be paid to the discussion of the so-called “shrinking space for civil society” in Europe. The third part of the course looks into organizational development. We will learn about the different organizational strategies of civil society organizations (CSOs) and social movements and discuss their interrelation with the state.


The course is designed for students in the BA Political Science or related programmes. The course language is English to allow for the participation of exchange students. During the course, students can choose between different forms of oral or written assignments, e.g. input presentations, summaries or the moderation of group discussions. Student can also bring in their own ideas regarding country case studies, policy issues and theoretical questions. Most course meetings will be organized as online meetings. If possible, a number of smaller group meetings will be organized at the university to facilitate the learning process. Written assignments (“schriftliche Ausarbeitungen” or „Hausarbeiten“) can be submitted in English or German. The course literature will be announced and made available at the start of the semester.

SFB 700