Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 Hours (16 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours (8 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay in lieu of exam, if exam element failed  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay, if essay element failed  50%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Have an appreciation of the historical context for democracy support and its origins as a foreign policy agenda.
2. Have an appreciation of the current aims and nature of democracy promotion, support and assistance policies and practices, and how they relate to other associated policy agendas of major democracy support actors.
3. Appreciate the various activities of a multiplicity of democracy support actors - the US, the EU, NGOs, private actors, and the international financial institutions.
4. Possess a theoretical set of tools to analyze the motivations and implications of democracy support for power relations in international politics.
5. Possess an understanding of the world political context within which democracy support activities are undertaken, including their politico-economic context.
6. Possess awareness of the key empirical and conceptual debates that revolve around democracy support, promotion and assistance.
7. Ability to form an empirically detailed and analytically critical appreciation of historical and contemporary practices of democracy support.

Brief description

This module will examine the activities and actors involved in democracy promotion in today's world order. The core aim of the module is to develop a detailed understanding of what is done today to support democracy in third countries by (primarily Western) donors and what the effects of such activities are on donors and recipients and global power relations. Students will examine democracy support in the context of global politico-economic and structural power relations and various debates - conceptual and practical - about the role and practices of democracy support. Students are introduced to key theoretical frameworks for understanding the role of democracy support, including realist, liberal, constructivist and critical theoretical tools in study of democracy support.


This module adds to Departmental provision in the area of international politics by examining the motivations, processes and practices of democracy promotion and the power relations and global order dynamics that shape them and emanate from them


1. Introduction: Democracy support - the agenda, the challenge, the practice
Historical context
2. The origins of Western democracy promotion
3. Contemporary trends in democracy promotion: from 'promotion' to 'assistance' and 'support'
4. What is 'democracy' in democracy support?
Theoretical approaches to power, ideology and the global order
5. Liberalism and democracy promotion
6. Realist and constructivist challenges to understanding democracy promotion
7. Critical theoretical understandings of democracy support
Actors and activities of democracy support
8. The US
9. The EU
10. International Financial Institutions
11. NGOs, foundations and private actors
12. Interests vs. values; foreign policy vs. ethical aims
13. Economic interests vs. political aims
14. Local ownership vs. external imposition
15. Democracy support and the decline of liberal world order
16. Concluding session

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number N/A
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to how to present their arguments most effectively. They will learn the importance of information and clear communication and how to exploit these. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to best advantage. They will learn to be clear in their writing and speaking and to be direct about aims and objectives. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic, focus and objectives of their argument or discussion. This module will particularly test aural and oral communication skills as it involves assessed seminar performance. Students will also be required to submit their essays in word-processed format and the presentation of work should reflect effective expression of ideas and good use of language skills in order to ensure clarity, coherence and effective communication.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context in which support and assistance is available from both the convenor and fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and exercising their own initiative, including searching for sources and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their coursework and presentation topics. The need to prepare for assessed seminar participation and to meet coursework deadlines will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC). Students will also be expected to make use of the resources that will be available on the Blackboard VLE.
Personal Development and Career planning This module is designed to hone and test skills of use to students in their working lives, particularly in speaking to small groups, listening, thinking and responding to the statement of others. Moreover, the written work includes writing clearly and concisely, which is a common task in the workplace. Students will be encouraged throughout to reflect on their performance and to consider lessons for future application.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one central goal of the module; the submission of two essays and preparation for seminar discussions will require that students develop independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; organize data and estimate an answer to the problem; consider extreme cases; reason logically; construct theoretical models; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems
Research skills Students will be required to undertake independent research for all elements of the assessed work. This will involve utilizing media and web sources, as well as more conventional academic texts. Students will in part be assessed on their ability to gather appropriate and interesting resources materials.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex historical and contemporary political problems
Team work Students will undertake team exercises in the seminars. Blackboard facilities such as the blog will also be used and students will be encouraged to contribute their comments to the entries.


This module is at CQFW Level 6