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Global Politics and International Relations – Part 2: Analysing the “Democratic Dream”

Global Politics and International Relations – Part 2: Analysing the “Democratic Dream”

An intensive summer programme perfect for adult students looking to further their knowledge of politics, international relations, governance and other related disciplines.

This one-week programme is residential in a college of the University of Oxford, and can be combined with Part 1 in this series, The Creation of Modern Nation States, to form a longer immersion in these fascinating subjects.

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Course Summary

The aim of this course is to extend students’ knowledge and understanding of global politics and international relations and equip students with the fundamental skills required to engage in its study.

There will be extensive discussion, debate and critical analysis regarding the main challenges facing experts, academics and professionals in the international arena of politics and international relations. The course will commence by exploring a wide range of authoritarian regimes and explain how authoritarian leaders have been able to consolidate power in an enduring way, perhaps beyond expectations. It will analyse how authoritarian regimes can survive but also be brought down and discuss the factors, origins and theories that lead to greater democratisation, as well as how less democratic or even undemocratic countries can flourish economically.

The course will critically examine the relationship between economic development and inequality and democratisation and assess why these factors do not support authoritarianism. The question ‘What kinds of economic development can foster democracy?’ will be debated as will the realities of realising the ‘democratic dream’. How can particular states overcome their problems and move to democracy? This will be contrasted with the challenges posed by hybrid regimes and terrorist groups which will involve an analysis of the key perspectives on terrorism along with a consideration of the question ‘How should the threat of terrorism be countered?’.

The final component of the course concerns  a critical analysis of key concepts in international trade and monetary systems with reference to specific countries around the world and debate whether protectionism is justifiable or completely unjustifiable. It will explore different definitions and causes of poverty between the developed and developing world, looking at the successes and failures of different systems.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course students will understand:

  • How to identify the characteristics of traditional and contemporary warfare and terrorism and counterterrorism and the politics and international relations aspects of international humanitarian law
  • How to critically appraise the role of politics and international relations in international development
  • How to assess the different factors associated with regime stability and change and for the persistence of hybrid regimes
  • How to pinpoint the actors, causes and spread of terrorism through the assessment of  current counterterrorism regimes
  • A greater familiarity with the characteristics and mechanisms of international trade and the international monetary system and considered international issues concerned with international poverty initiatives

Course Outcomes

Monday Lecture 1: Authoritarian rule and endurance
Seminar 1: Economic Theories of democratisation
Tuesday Lecture 2: Historical, cultural and international factors in democratisation
Seminar 2: Hybrid regimes
Wednesday Lecture 3: Terrorism
Seminar 3: Counterterrorism 
Thursday Lecture 4: International trade and Monetary systems
Seminar 4: Poverty and international development
Friday Lecture 5: Politics and IR final debate on a contemporary issue
Seminar 5: Presentations, course review and action planning


Assessment Methods

1 x Written Assignment (500-750 words)

1 x Group Presentation


Oxford College Accommodation

  • Location Oxford
  • Ages Ages: 12+, 13-15, 16-18, 19+
  • Bedroom Type Single and twin
  • Bathroom Type En-suite & Shared (single gender)
  • Year Built Founded in 1096 (University of Oxford)

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