Regime Change and Altered States

Course code POLI2170
Not available in 2017
2016 Course Timetables


Looks at the politics of regime change. It explores how and why some regimes change, whether from authoritarian to democratic states, or the other way around, or some other permutation. The various pathways of regime change are considered and their institutional and political preconditions scrutinized. The puzzle of the coexistence of authoritarian regimes with modern economies will be addressed. The course will also consider the influence of proximity of target regime types (usually democracy), and some larger questions surrounding the adequacy of present formulations of what constitutes a democracy.



  • Semester 2 - 2016

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the prevailing patterns of political system transformation in the world, with an emphasis on recent transformations.

2. Demonstrate knowledge of the complexity of relationships between political system, socioeconomic structure, and institutions.

3. Demonstrate critical awareness of the uses of scores and rankings in the evaluation of democracy and legitimacy.

4. Demonstrate an understanding of the distinction between transition to democracy and democratic consolidation.


The course content will be drawn from but not restricted to:

  1. Discussion of key concepts such as "regime change", "the state", democratisation, consolidation, bureaucratic authoritarianism, legitimacy, civil society.
  2. Conceptual understanding of regime change theories: modernisation, transition theory, structural approaches .
  3. Case studies of instances of regime change, especially in Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa.
  4. Consolidation problems and military coups.
  5. Impacts of economic change, insurgency movements, populism.


This course has similarities to POLI3170. If you have successfully completed POLI3170 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed Knowledge

10 units in Politics at 1000 level or equivalent

Assessment Items

Written Assignment: Tutorial Question

Written Assignment: Essay Proposal/Annotated Bibliography *

Essay: Major Essay

* This assessment has a compulsory requirement.

Compulsory Requirements

In order to pass this course, each student must complete ALL of the following compulsory requirements:

General Course Requirements:

  • Tutorial: Attendance Requirement - Students must attend a minimum number of these sessions. - Students must attend 10 out of 13 tutorials. Failure to do so without due cause will attract a penalty of 5%.

Contact Hours



Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for Full Term