This course is discontinued

STV4349B – Transformative Politics in a South-North Perspective

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The crisis of democratisation in the global South has generated two mainstream positions. The first position is that the democratic discrepancies such as corruption and identity politics may be countered with improved liberal democratic institutions. The second position maintains that the abuses are because of insufficient constitutional prerequisites with regard to the rule of law and orderly administration which thus need to be built ahead of democratic freedoms and elections. This course, by contrast, follows up on an alternative third proposition that grows out of research by an international network of scholars coordinated from the UiO. These scholars argue (elaborated upon in another master course on the linkages between politics and society, STV4347B) that the problems of democratisation are due to depoliticisation of democracy and poor representation of vital interests and ordinary people. This calls for altered relations of power and improved political capacity of the politically marginalised people, both of which should be possible to foster gradually within the framework of the imperfect democratic openings. The unresolved issue – and the question to be addressed in this course – is how transformative politics can facilitate such changes and thereby contribute to further development of democracy.
To answer this question the course discusses experiences of transformative democratic politics. The course discusses (a) whether and how new tendencies of economic growth in the Global South and popular engagement may open up for renewed transformative strategies; and (b) what can possibly be learnt from one of the historically most successful examples of transformative politics, that of the Scandinavian social democracy during its formative years.

Learning outcome

Students will:

  • obtain a good grasp of the core components of transformative politics;
  • understand the interrelationship between these components;
  • understand how the components have changed over time;
  • grasp the major related historical experiences in Scandinavia;
  • grasp the major new dynamics and experiences in the Global South;
  • understand the dividing lines of current political debates about transformative politics.

Students will:

  • be able to search relevant additional information and facts about transformative politics;
  • be able to analyse the above mentioned aspects independently;
  • be able to assess current political arguments about transformative politics.

Students will:

  • enhance their capabilities in critically analysing questions about transformative politics and the interrelationship between democracy, social and economic development and welfare reforms more broadly.


Students admitted to other Master programs may also be qualified to apply for the course. Please contact the Department of Political Science.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.

Recommended previous knowledge

Students are advised to take STV4347B – Linkages between Politics and Society in Developing Countries (discontinued) before this course.


10 lectures will be given. The lectures are held intensively for a period of 5 weeks, with the exam in the sixth week.
This course will be taught at the University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used. Fronter will normally be used.
The course is part of the regular courses offered at the Faculty of Social Science. Teaching is mainly held during the daytime. Detailed course-information is found on the Webpage for the current semester.

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


One essay (10-15 pages in total), and a 3-hour written exam.

In order to receive a passing grade on the essay, your topic will have to reflect the course readings and curriculum. All chosen topics should be approved by the course instructor before the deadline. An essay topic not reflecting the curriculum, will receive a failing grade (F).
The final exam counts 60% of the grade, and in order to pass the course, your essay and your written exam must be passed in the same semester as your course is taught. You will receive one overall grade for the course.
The Faculty of Social Science is responsible for the exam(s), and exam(s) are/is normally held at The University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used.
Detailed exam-information is found on the Webpage for the current semester.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

It is possible to submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or 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

Resit an examination

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Facts about this course






Spring 2013


Spring 2013

Teaching language