Dictatorships - POLI6008

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Spring Term 6 15 (7.5) Jamie Gruffydd-Jones checkmark-circle


Dictatorships are rising around the world. According to the Varieties of Democracy Institute, in 2022 just over one quarter of the world's population were living in a full democracy, a number that has fallen dramatically in the 21st century. But what is dictatorship, autocracy, authoritarianism? In this module we will analyse the different forms that non-democratic rule takes. We will examine the rise of these kinds of regimes and their leaders, as well as the support and the resistance of their citizens. We will explore how dictatorships persist, why they fall, and the role of the international community. The module will explore case studies of dictatorship from China to Iraq, and draw on films, documentaries, books, and cutting-edge political science studies.


Contact hours

Private Study: 128
Contact Hours: 22
Total: 150


Optional to the following courses:
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations (Bidiplôme)
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Placement Year
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Foundation Year
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe or North America
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Language
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Year in Asia-Pacific
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with Quantitative Research
• BA (Hons) Economics and Politics
• BA (Hons) History and Politics
• BA (Hons) Philosophy and Politics
• BA (Hons) Sociology and Politics
• LLB (Hons) Law and Politics

Also available as an elective module and to short term credit students

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
Seminar Reading Response (1000 words) (30%)
Research Paper (3000 words) (70%)

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Identify and assess different kinds of authoritarian regimes and how they have been studied in political science
2 Demonstrate a detailed understanding of the origins of authoritarian regimes and the rise of dictators
3 Identify, describe and evaluate patterns of popular support and resistance within authoritarian regimes
4 Understand and evaluate the means and conditions by which authoritarian regimes retain or lose power
6 Critically evaluate the policies of the international community towards authoritarian regimes and their demise
7 Critically evaluate sources of evidence about the politics and society of authoritarian regimes.


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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