Democracy Studies Research and Study Opportunities

Scholarships in Democracy Studies

Fellowships in Democracy Studies

Conferences in Democracy Studies

Democracy Studies relevant accounts on Twitter

What is Democracy?

The word “democracy” is of Greek origin and means “the rule of people”. It is a form of government in which the rule is carried out in the interests of the majority and the majority's help. For the first time, a democratic state system was implemented in Ancient Greece in Athens under King Solon (7th century BC). However, people began to use the term “democracy” to talk about the form of the state system that existed in Athens later, from the 5th century.

The issues of democracy have been discussed for centuries, but the definition of this concept, which everyone would agree with, has not been found. However, many would agree that democracy has certain common characteristics, such as equality of people in their rights, freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, and free elections.

Types of Democracy

There are different types of democracy. However, it is traditionally divided into 4 main types:

  • Direct democracy
  • Representative democracy
  • Constitutional democracy
  • Monitory democracy

In a direct democracy, citizens independently and directly participate in preparing, discussing, and adopting socially and politically significant decisions. Direct democracy is most effective in small social groups. Thus, the peak of its popularity was during the times of the ancient small states. However, in some modern countries, the mechanisms of direct democracy are sometimes actively used within the framework of local government.

In a representative democracy, citizens decide to hold elections to government bodies of their own representatives, called upon to express the interests of voters, adopt fair laws, issue orders, etc. The concept of political representation arose when the system of direct democracy began to restrict the number of its citizens. When the population became too large and people could not physically meet and vote, they started to elect representatives to act on their behalf. The representative democracy has become more popular in the modern world, as it solves citizens' political issues more effectively.

In a constitutional democracy, the constitution determines who and how will represent people. It is a system of government based on popular sovereignty in which the structures, powers, and limitations of government are described in the constitution. This form of democracy is practiced in the US, Germany, Israel, Japan, and other countries.

The monitory democracy is a new form of democracy in which the government is constantly monitored in the exercise of its power by a wide range of public and private agencies, commissions, and regulatory mechanisms. In a monitory democracy, public participation in political life is achieved not only through their representatives. Citizens can participate in all political spheres, such as social services. The impact of monitoring makes both national governments and international bodies increase accountability to people.

Academic Degrees in Democracy Building: Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. Studies

Democracy studies offer an academic insight into how people influence forms of state governance, how challenging it is to delegate power to people, ensure equality and transparency. An important aspect of this program is to explore whether the power elected by people and for people is always the best system of governance.   

Bachelor's degree programs foster students to explore historical and social aspects of democracy. This is a broad insight into how people in the past strived and managed to change political systems and achieved equality. The program focuses on the critical thinking approach to reveal what it takes to build democracy, the challenges, and prospects it brings.

Master degree studies in a democracy are more focused and include such disciplines as political institutions and globalization processes, democracy in transition, and international relations. The recent history shows many examples of bringing democracy by developed countries into underdeveloped ones. Master degree students are encouraged to analyze and research whether democracy is always a voluntary choice of people or if building democracy by one state in another always results in progress. Lectures, seminars, discussions, essays, and internships aim to facilitate links between academic studies, analytical thinking, and hands-on practice with various institutions.

Ph.D. students engage in advanced academic research, through academic and structural schemes, on various dimensions of democracy. They explore failures and success in democracy-building in developing countries, as well as best practices of international aid aimed at institutional capacity building in countries where democracy is a goal to achieve.

ARMACAD Program Database on Democracy Studies

Check ARMACAD to find updated announcements on non-degree programs, summer schools, online programs, and workshops on democracy studies and related disciplines. These programs and events aim to deliver additional updated knowledge on the topic. Participants of these courses are trained on various aspects of achieving democracy and justice through grassroots empowerment, capacity building, and political diplomacy. Short-term events, such as workshops, conferences, and symposiums on democracy studies, provide excellent opportunities for students, academics, and practitioners to share their best practices in the field.