The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


3000 level

Course handbook


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.


Not currently offered.

This Course was last offered in Semester 2 - 2019.

Learning outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an awareness 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 awareness 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", democratization, consolidation, bureaucratic authoritarianism, legitimacy, civil society.
  2. Conceptual understanding of regime change theories: modernization, 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.


Students must have successfully completed POLI1010 or POLI1020. This course has similarities to POLI2170. If you have successfully completed POLI2170 you cannot enrol in this course.

Assessment items

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Class Assessments

Written Assignment: Annotated Bibliography

Essay: Major Essay

Formal Examination: Final Exam