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Tasks: The Global State of Democracy

LK20

Discuss:

  1. What characterises a strong democracy? Make a list of indicators you believe should be present in any democracy.
  2. What is meant by the term ‘nationalism? Do you know of any states today with a strong nationalistic government?
  3. Explain why marginalisation and rising income inequality can be destabilising forces in a democracy.
  4. What is meant by ‘Political trust is the glue of democracy’?
  5. No democracy is perfect. What are the flaws in Norwegian democracy?
  6. Are protests and demonstrations a sign that a democracy is working or that it is not working?
  7. Make a list of things you can do to defend and protect our democracy.

Research:

The countries listed below are all struggling with different democratic challenges, some more serious than others. You are going to choose one of these countries:

  • Flawed democracies: USA, Hungary, Brazil, Poland
  • Hybrid regimes: Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Kenya
  • Authoritarian regimes: Rwanda, Venezuela, Russia, China

Your task is to become an expert on the democratic challenges of the country you choose. While doing research, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the form of government in this country? Who is in power and how did he/she get there? (election, military coup...)
  • What is their greatest democratic challenge? (Take a look at the list provided below)
  • Are there any indicators of democracy that are non-existent in the country? Give examples.
  • Are there examples of human rights violations? Give examples.
  • Has the country become more or less democratic in the past few years? You will find the development of the individual countries in the EIU's Democracy Index.

Some important indicators of democracy

  • Free elections, where politicians are elected and replaced on a regular basis.
  • Universal right to vote.
  • Pluralism (= coexistence of people with different beliefs and backgrounds) and respect for minorities.
  • Trust in government.
  • Level of corruption.
  • Free access to information (i.e. internet).
  • A free and independent press.
  • Independent judiciaries.
    (The courts being free and independent from political allegiances or pressure.)
  • The right to participate in political, religious or ideological organisation or parties
  • Respect for your private life.
  • Rule of law (= Equality for all in the eyes of the law).

Use various resources from the internet. Some sources are suggested in the box below, but you will also have to look for information about your specific country by using more precise search queries.

Decide in class if you are going to present your findings in the form of a report, a presentation, a panel discussion or a film. Remember to refer to your sources in an honest and correct way.

Useful sources

Buchholz, K (2020). The State of Democracy Around the World. Retrieved from: https://www.statista.com/chart/18737/democracy-index-world-map/

Desilver, D (2019). Despite Global Concerns About Democracies, More than Half of Countries are Democratic. Retrieved from: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/05/14/more-than-half-of-countries-are-democratic/

Freedom House (2020) Expanding freedom and democracy. Retrieved from: https://freedomhouse.org/

Gosh, I (2020). Visualizing the State of Democracy, by Country. Retrieved from: https://www.visualcapitalist.com/state-of-democracy-by-country/

The Economist Intelligence Unit (2020). Democracy Index 2019. Retrieved from: https://www.eiu.com/topic/democracy-index (NB: you need to register and log in before you download the report)

Transparency International (2020). Corruption Perception Index. Retrieved from: https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi



Sist oppdatert 07.11.2020
Skrevet av Karin Søvik

Læringsressurser

Democracy and Human Rights