Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM095: The Politics of Democracy in Latin America

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module's precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:


1) The idea and emergence of democracy

2) State formation and oligarchic constraints

3) Latin America and the 3rd wave of democratization

4) Democratic transformation and transition

5) Democratic transitions from above and from below

6) Parties, electoral politics and party systems

7) Latin America's 'left turn', 'right turn', or sticking to the middle?

8) Exclusive-legislative relations and governability

9) Populism versus party systems?

10) Populist political projects, right and left

11) Understanding the quality of democracy

12) The imperfect rule of law

13) Inequality, social exclusion and legitimacy

14) Citizenship rights and social mobilization

15) Economic development and comparative democratic performance

16) Constitutional design and attempts to re-found the republic

17) The accountability deficit

18) Democracy, oligarchy and the Latin American polity

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities4422 x 2 hour seminars facilitated by the lecturer. The seminar will comprise lecture led sessions, group work and whole class discussion and student led presentations.
Guided Independent Study155Reading and preparation for seminars and presentations
Guided Independent Study55Writing up 2 essays and a preparation for the two presentations
Guided independent study46Web-based activities - preparation for seminars and presentations

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).


- BBC News – Latin America & Caribbean:

- Latinamerica Press:

- MercoPress:

- Buenos Aires Herald:

- LatinoBarometro:

- Latin American Public Opinion Project: