Students will work in groups (4 or 5) to write a paper(minimum 10 pages, double-spaced) that critically examines various political phenomena in a geographic region (South Africa, West Africa, Eastern Europe, South Asia etc.)
((IN THIS SPECIFIC PAPER YOU ARE ONLY MEANT TO WRITE ABOUT THE COUNTRIES OF PARAGUAY, PERU AND URUGUAY))) — You are to touch on all three countries but if there is one especially different than the others you can talk about that one country in more detail. If they are all different than you can spread out the information
.Students are expected to utilize four important sources:
Polity IVand Freedom House democracy indexes, the World Values Survey(for public opinion), and the Fair Vote(for electoral systems around the world). In addition to these sources, you need to use Google Scholar to find academic articles that provide detailed information about the region’s political history and institutions.
Polity IV: http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/polity4.htm
Freedom House: https://freedomhouse.org
World Values Survey: http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/WVSOnline.jsp
Fair Vote: http://www.fairvote.org/research_electoralsystems_world
Important questions to consider in your project
:•What type of political institutions are more common in the region(democratic vs. autocratic, parliamentary vs. presidential)? What countries use a parliamentary system and presidential? What countries are more democratic in your region?
•Trends in institutional transitions: Are more countries becoming a parliamentary or presidential democracy, an electoral authoritarian regime or closed dictatorship (or any other transition in the last several decades
) What are the exceptional cases that deviate from others in your region? For instance, why do you think Turkey and Israel are electoral democracies while any other country in the region failed to establish (minimally) democratic institutions?
•What are the causes of these transitions? Colonial heritage? Economic development? Cultural change? Are they bottom up or top down transitions?
•Are your countries minimally democratic (institutions, see Polity IV scores) or fully democratic (civil rights, media freedom etc., see Freedom House scores)?
Are there any countries in your region that have healthy democratic institutions but fail to protect civil and political rights? What does the Freedom House tell about the media freedom of individual countries in your region? (see the Freedom House media freedom reports)
•Do people in your region support and trust democratic institutions (legislatures, parties, etc.)? What can you say about the inter-personal trust in the region? Can we reach the conclusion that the countries in your region are not ready to establish
2democratic institutionsdue to their cultures? Use the World Values Survey’s online data analysis tool to show public opinion data(link provided above).
•What types of governments (e.g., coalition) and electoral systems (e.g., proportional system) are common in the region?
•How many parties do these countries have in their legislative institutions (i.e., parliament)?
•What can you tell about social cleavages in your region?
•What are the institutional veto players? (decentralization, federalism, bicameralism etc.)
•What are the consequences of democratic institutions in your region? Conflict resolution? Transparency? Economic and political equality?
Students should use quotation mark and cite the source(Year and Page)when they quote directly from an academic or non-academic source. Example: The author argues that “political parties are becoming increasingly Eurosceptic in Germany” (Jones 2002, 34). Plagiarism will not be tolerated.