STV4130 – Democracy and Inequality/Oppression

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

This course challenges the student to examine the concept of democracy and inequality from various philosophical and theoretical traditions. It will explore the elusive meaning of democracy, the problems that inequalities pose, problems for democratic forms of governance and the ways that democratic institutions are being adopted by soft-totalitarian states. Throughout the course, students will learn to recognize how democratic institutions may perpetuate, and not just resist, forms of domination and oppression.

Learning outcome


Students will:

  • Develop their understanding of the leading definitions of democracy, accountability and power in political science
  • Learn how soft-totalitarian states are adopting democratic forms of governance
  • Enhance their ability to identify problems with democratic forms of governance


Students will:

  • Learn how to compare and contrast different author’s definitions of democracy, inequality and accountability
  •  Learn how to identify and assess paradoxical features of democracy and equality
  •  Refine their ability to identify and critically assess the main argument of a theoretical work.


Students will:

  • Synthesize competing definitions of democracy in order to refine their own understanding
  • Develop their ability to think critically and constructively about the strengths and weaknesses of democratic forms of governance


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme.

For incoming students

All Master's courses in Political Science must be registered manually by the Department, they will not appear in Studentweb. Contact your international coordinator at UiO.



The seminars will be a combination of lectures, film and discussion. Students are expected to participate in the discussions.


One written assignment (5000-7500 words in total), and an oral presentation with brief examination of the course literature.

In addition, students will be required to serve as an opponent to the other participants’ presentation.

In order to receive a passing grade on the assignment, the topic must reflect the course readings and curriculum. The topic of the assignment has to be approved by the course instructor before the deadline. An assignment topic not reflecting the curriculum, will receive a failing grade (F).

You will receive one overall grade for the course, of which the assignment accounts for 75 percent and the oral presentation/examination 25 percent. In order to pass the course, both the assignment and the oral presentation must be passed.

Guidelines for written assignments - Technical standards, deadlines etc.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Ask for explanation of your grade

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






This course is not given on a regular basis


This course is not given on a regular basis

Teaching language