After successfully passing the course, the student will:
- be familiar with the early transition to democracy in the countries of Eastern Europe;
- have knowledge about the government and politics of post-communist East European states;
- be able to critically think about and evaluate the different political situation, which has and is still shaping some of the modern day politics in this region;
- have knowledge about and be able to analyze the relations between the new member-states and the European Union.
Recent events in the Ukraine show that despite the transition to democracy in 1989, Russia is still very influential in the politics of the post-communist region. This is important not only for the countries themselves, but also for their role and relation with the European Union in the future. To understand some of the challenges that the future holds, we will study the developments East European countries underwent after the regime change, their current politics and government and some of the major institutional changes that the states experienced in the last two and a half decades.|
Some examples include the transition from single-party totalitarian rule to multiparty democracy, the development of interest groups, the adoption of free market economies, the association and membership in the European Union. All these changes have made substantial impact on Eastern Europe’s political development. Some countries have democratized more than others, some have joined major international entities such as NATO and the European Union, while others not.
Focusing on different institutions and the roles they play in the political arenas of these countries, we will study theory (how scholars expect things to work) and applied research (how things actually work).
A major question that will guide our exploration through the entire course is “do institutions matter?”, and if so, “how?”
In this course active participation is important and therefore part of the assessment, based on your presence and contribution to discussions related to short response papers.
You will write a book review, an individual research paper and present your results in class.
This course will provide you ample opportunity for student leadership and initiative, especially during the student-led seminars. You will further develop your abilities to work in groups, find compromise between sometimes opposing views and styles, and strive for achieving high quality of team work. An addition skill to be practiced is that of speaking and writing in English.
Please note that for non-USG bachelor students the course Introduction public administration and organizational science (USG5520/USG5020) or another introduction course covering the subject of public administration is recommended.