Transitology – Pathways to and from Democracy (MOOC)

Transitology – Pathways to and from Democracy (MOOC)

Mon, 20 Feb 2023 - Sun, 26 Mar 2023


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Organized by: Global Campus of Human Rights


Transitology is a concept and analytical framework applied in political and social science to analyse and assess political regime change and the subsequent consolidation process of democratic institutions. It explains the different pathways how democratic institutions and regimes slowly consolidate and strengthen over time. Transitology also explains why weak and corrupted democratic institutions fail and backslide into authoritarian political practices and, subsequently, autocracies.

Such processes of transition and democratisation have been seen in countries and societies in Europe after WWII in 1945, during and after the decolonisation process in Africa and Latin America in the 1960s, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Not all have been successful, as seen in post-soviet Russia or post-colonial countries such as Nigeria, and post-junta regimes such as Venezuela.

Regime change and the transition from one regime type and mode of governance to another do not say much about whether a regime is democratic or whether the rule of law, human rights, or good governance principles are adhered to. What consolidates and successfully transforms democratic institutions into ‘stable democracies’ are the pathways of participatory, inclusive, and trustworthy adherence and compliance with democratic rules and human rights.

In this Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), we will ask critical questions: How do countries and political regimes successfully democratise? And what are the causes of democratic backsliding? How do democracies die, and how do they recover, if at all? Together with policymakers, academic researchers, and analysts, among them several members of IPSA RC34 "Quality of Democracy", we will explore different forms of government and look at theories explaining political and societal transitions, transformation, and consolidation of regimes. We will also present and discuss concrete examples of political transitions and regime changes in different world regions.