The syllabus and all relevant details on the seminar, including the Zoom link for the introductory session on 13 December, 17:00 h, are available from the accompanying Learnweb course: https://sso.uni-muenster.de/LearnWeb/learnweb2/course/view.php?id=67052. The enrolment key is ”treib2022”.
This seminar will be held as an online block seminar with an introductory session in December and two full-day blocks in January.
It addresses democratic backsliding in the European Union (EU). Several member states have seen shorter or longer episodes of democratic backsliding in recent years: governments have sought to curb the independence of the media, they have introduced electoral laws that disadvantage opposition parties, they have questioned the independence of the judiciary, and they have introduced other measures that might be seen as violations of the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
We will tackle three main questions:
(1) Where can we find indications of democratic backsliding in the EU, especially beyond the obvious cases of Hungary and Poland? Can we observe some sort of mainstreaming of democratic erosion?
(2) How can we explain democratic backsliding? What is different between the backsliding countries and the other, comparable countries?
(3) What can be done to tackle democratic backsliding? What is the role of the EU in combatting democratic backsliding, and does the EU need major reforms to fight democratic backsliding more effectively?
The first block will be devoted to discussing theoretical literature about democracy and the reasons for democratic backsliding. In the second block, student groups will present the results of small group research projects about specific sub-topics of the overall seminar theme.
In order to pass the seminar, students are required to prepare the reading assignments, engage in a presentation on the theoretical concepts discussed in the first block or in a presentation of empirical results of one of the empirical research groups in the second block, and write a term paper based on the results of the research projects.
Sitter, Nick and Bakke, Elisabeth (2019) Democratic Backsliding in the European Union. In: Thompson, William R. (ed.) Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics: Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190228637.013.1476.