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Political Science V: Comparative Politics

The growing spread of democracy was one of the most distinctive characteristics of the last century. For the first time in human history, most countries are governed democratically. The profile of democracy has changed due to that. On the one hand, many new young democracies show deficits, which often prove to be remarkably stable. On the other hand, the established democracies are restrained by inner and outer hazards, which could reduce the quality of democracy. At the same time tendencies are observed, which result into a deepening and more qualitative improvement of democracy. Therefore the development of democracy remains open and with it the question about its causal dynamics.

This verdict does not only possess self relevance for democracy, but also for developments in economical, social and cultural areas influenced by democratic rule. Therefore the consequences for the development in these areas of different profiles of democracy, in its institutional form and its quality, have to be examined.

The current research demonstrates that certain characteristics of democracy deliver productive impulses for the development processes while others intensify the problems of development. To clarify such relationships, a methodological approach is necessary, which can adequately cover the democratic developments in all areas.

The department “Democracy and Development” engages in research and teachings with such substantial methodological questions and theoretical concepts that comprehend democracy as dependent and independent variables. Central research fields are the dynamics of democracy regarding the quality and consolidation of democracy and the development performance of democracy itself.

Mainly treated are institutional forms of democracy well known in the research field of governance systems (e.g. presidential and parliamentary Governance Systems) and subtypes of democracy, which become different due to their peculiar quality of democracy. By dealing with these types, common variants of classic institutionalism and of the neo-institutionalism spectrum are taken up.

The fundamental methodological approach is built on comparative methods. Not only differences and similarities can be shown with a comparative approach, but causal relationships in form of hypotheses can be systematically tested as well. This allows for the advancement of the theoretical knowledge. The teaching of empirical knowledge constitutes another important activity which contributes to the research. This concerns governance systems of several countries as well as selected policies. Different States from various regions are included.

FernUni-Logo FernUniversität in Hagen, Department of Political Science, 58084 Hagen