This course is discontinued

STV9120 – Crisis, Compromise, Collapse: The Fate of Democracy in Inter-War Europe

Course content

NB! This semester's course is cancelled

Conditions of democracy, favourable or unfavourable, have again come to the centre of attention following the demise of communism in 1989-91 and now the recent revolts in the Middle East. From May 18 to May 25 2012 the Political Science Department of the University of Oslo will offer a comprehensive course on what Samuel P. Huntington called 'the first reverse wave' of democracy, from 1919 to 1939.

The questions asked are: Why did some countries survive the onslaught of inflation, depression, defeat in war and totalitarian movements from right and left while others collapsed? What are the conjunctural and structural conditions or perhaps pre-conditions for explaining these variations? What is the relevance of the inter-war experience for a general theory of democratization or breakdown?

The course will offer an ambitious attempt to survey the conditions of survival and breakdown in this period with relevance to later cases of democratic collapse and renewal.

Course responsible: Professor Bernt Hagtvet


Only access for Ph.D.students and invited participants.

Application deadline: 1 May 2012

Link to application form


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Only access for Ph.D.students and invited participants.


A detailed schedule will be posted.

The course will assemble at the Blindern campus of the University of Oslo.

Reading list
To be purchased by the students. The books will be available at the University bookshop, but ideally students should have read it in advance.

  • D. Berg-Schlosser and Jeremy Mitchell (eds.), Authoritarianism and Democracy in Europe 1919-39 (Palgrave, Macmillan 2002) ISBN 0-333-71458- x).
  • D. Acemoglu & J.A. Robinson, Economic Origins of Dictatorshp and Democracy (Cambridge UP 06. ISBN 978-0-521-67142-2) We may want to supplement this list.

Handouts from the Department:

  • parts of D.Berg-Schlosser & Jeremy Mitchell (eds.) Conditions of Democracy in Europe 1919-39. Systematic Case studies (Macmillan Press, London 2000)


Paper (5000-10000 words)

ECTS Credits: 10 (if the assignment has been approved)


Course fee: Free

PhD Students must cover syllabus, food and accomodation for the period of the course.

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Teaching language