The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Thursday 07 October 2021
Friday 17 December 2021
01 September 2021


Requisites for this module



Key module for

DIPLL20009 Politics

Module description

This module is designed to examine one of the biggest challenges to democracy in the contemporary world: authoritarianism.

First we will discuss what authoritarianism is and what the most common varieties of authoritarian regimes are.

Then we will go over the factors that drive politics in dictatorships and examine how these institutions can help explain the observed variation in autocratic
government performance.

Last, we will look at the logic of autocratic regime survival and conditions under which democratic transitions are more likely to occur.

Module aims

The module aims to introduce students to the topic of political and bureaucratic corruption, a global problem that is present in dictatorships as well as democracies, in developing and more developed societies alike.

Module learning outcomes

The module is meant to encourage students to think on their own, while ensuring that their thoughts are coherent and logically sound. At the end of the module, students should be able to articulate cogent answers to questions such as: What explains government performance, or lack thereof, in dictatorships? Why do nondemocratic rulers govern with democratic institutions, such as legislatures and political parties?

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

1 hr lecture and 1 hr class


  • Gandhi, Jennifer. (2008) Political institutions under dictatorship, New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Svolik, Milan W. (2012) The politics of authoritarian rule, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Schedler, Andreas. (2002) 'The Menu of Manipulation', in Journal of Democracy. vol. 13 (2) , pp.36-50
  • Joseph Wright. (2009) 'How Foreign Aid Can Foster Democratization in Authoritarian Regimes', in How Foreign Aid Can Foster Democratization in Authoritarian Regimes. vol. 53 (3) , pp.552-571
  • Levitsky, Steven; Way, Lucan. (c2010) Competitive authoritarianism: hybrid regimes after the Cold War, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Diamond, Larry Jay. (2002) 'Thinking About Hybrid Regimes', in Journal of Democracy. vol. 13 (2) , pp.21-35
  • Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, James D. Morrow, Randolph M. Siverson and Alastair Smith. (1999) 'Policy Failure and Political Survival: The Contribution of Political Institutions Abstract', in The Journal of Conflict Resolution. vol. 43 (2) , pp.147-161

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Essay   18/01/2022  50% 
Written Exam  Online Test     50% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Rabia Malik, email: rabia.malik@essex.ac.uk.
Module Administrator: Edmund Walker, govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 728 hours, 10 (1.4%) hours available to students:
718 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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