This class emphasizes two central issues.
The first is recognition of democracy as a process and method of government; the second is the transition to democracy.
If the aim of our society in the political sphere is arriving at democracy, we ought to know what this political system is, how it works, and why it is better than other systems. But the demand for democracy, even if we recognize it, is not enough. This is because our society is confronted by a different challenge: authoritarianism. We must learn the path of transition from such authoritarianism to democracy. Perhaps this second question is, for us, even more important than the first.
Accordingly, the contents of this course have been designed in such a way that students will be able in the first session to grasp a clear and precise understanding of democracy, its prerequisites, its structure and internal terms, and the particularities of its preservation and maintenance. We then proceed to learn about the issue of the transition from authoritarianism to democracy according to theoretical reflection and historical experience (both successful and unsuccessful.) In this course we strive to emphasize the responsibility of the citizen in democracy and the transition to democracy. The role of citizens in instituting democratic change and their civic sensibility toward protecting democracy is the issue treated in specifically in this course.
The period of this course runs eight sessions, with each session taking 1.5 hours, to include an instructor lecture and time for questions and answers. The central questions we ought to always bear in mind here are:
What is democracy? What is the transition to democracy like?