Thursday, January 17, 2008

Comparing Democracies

Michael Coppedge dicta este curso desde 1996. Es parte de un paquete de dos cursos. El primero es algo así como Causas de la Democracia y éste sobre la Naturaleza y Consecuencias de la Democracia. Coppedge es un especialista en el tema. Fue alumno, asistente y colaborador de Robert Dahl. Trabajó con Dahl precisamente en su clásico libro Poliarquía. Además tiene un interés particular en América Latina, especialmente en Venezuela. Lo tuvimos en una conferencia en el Perú (en el IEP) en agosto del 2006.

La descripción general del curso es la siguiente:

“Comparing Democracies is a semester-long workshop devoted to establishing rigorous criteria for evaluating how democratic “democracies” are and what difference it makes. During most of the post-war era, U.S. political science moved toward a consensus on a narrow, libertal-pluralist concept of democracy that reduced a rich and complex tradition to electoral competition, broad suffrage, and certain attendant institutions. This was a useful concept for several decades, as it made possible an increasingly rigorous program of research on the causes and consequences of democracy. But at the end of the Third Wave, it has become hard to ignore the price that we paid for this productivity. Now there are many more countries that satisfy the minimal requirements for a narrow version of democracy. At the same time we are painfully aware that some democracies are much more “democratic” than others. Yet the concept we inherited does not provide us with clear criteria for making such judgements. The purpose of this seminar is to reconsider, in a more broad-minded frame of mind, what the essential components of democracy are, and to examine empirically their interrelationships and their consequences for other social and political values. We will read and discuss selected theoretical works –some old, some recent—that propose definitions of and justifications for democracy. We will break down the concepts into measurable components and function as a research team to produce qualitative and quantitative indicators of the quality of democracy. Students will also present and critique their own research on the consequences of these qualities of democracy for war and peace, political culture, governability and economic policy and performance. The seminar includes practical instruction on concept formation, measurement theory, dimensional analysis, and other methodological tools that would be useful for analyzing many complex political phenomena besides democracy”.

La siguiente semana, bajo el titulo de Thick Concepts, se discutira los principales modelos de democracia (clasico, republicano, marxista, legalista, participativa y cosmopolita). El texto base para esta discusión será, también, un clásico:

David Held, Models of Democracy, 3rd ed. (Standford: Stanford UP, 2006).

Mas sobre Michael Coppedge: http://politicalscience.nd.edu/faculty/profiles/michael-coppedge/

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