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   Course Title    Capitalism, Globalisation and/or Open Society?
Lecturer    Andrei V. Rezaev
Institution    St.Petersburg State University
Country    Russia

Interdisciplinary course of lectures and practical classes: politics, economics, sociology, history, policy studies, philosophy, methodology of social science.

The course aims to provide a background for advanced discussions of options for capitalist development and constraints on society in the age of globalisation. The starting point is the debate that came forth with George Soros' The Capitalist Threat.

The course deals with the theoretical development of the study of transitions to democracy and an open society, pertaining to both Western and Eastern Europe in the post-war era. The lectures and discussions will cover various issues that affect democratic transitions and socio-economic transformation. Attendance at lectures is mandatory, as are the assigned readings. Participation in discussion is strongly urged. In addition, each student must complete the following assignment:

  1. An 800-1500 word critique (review) of an article [to be agreed with the instructor];
  2. An essay on one specific issue or case study with a length of approximately 4000-6000 words;
  3. A final two-hour in class exam.

Part I. Theoretical and Methodological Framework. Setting the problem.

Science, social and political theory. Post-Cold War Order, the End of History, the New Middle Ages, the Amoebisation of States, Pandemonium, Clash of Civilisations? Globalisation and Global Capitalism.

Part II Debates about Capitalist Development and Democracy.

I. Capitalist Development.

Capitalism: Historical Survey. Markets and Hierarchies. Capitalism vs. Socialism. Welfare States: Practice and Prospects. The State and the Individual.

II. Democracy.

What is democracy? Liberal democracy and its critics. Pros and cons of the current transitions toward democracy. State, Nationalism and Democratisation. Varieties of post-totalitarian regimes: Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine. Post-totalitarianism, civil society and the limits of the Western model.

III. Liberalization and Democratization in the East Central European Context.

Democaratization and Political Change. Issues of Legitimacy. Structure and Process. Historical Backdrop to Contemporary Processes and Developments. Typologies of Transition. Emerging party systems and institutions, founding elections.

Part III. International Political Economy and the Crisis of Liberalism.

Ideologies in Political Economy. Globalisation as the Problem in academia and reality of contemporary world. State, firms and multinational corporations. Alternatives to Globalisation (regionalisation). Globalisation and Europeanisation. The national and regional in the New Europe. Globalisation and Culture. Multiculturalism.

Part IV. Open Society.

The Meaning of Open Society. What is an open society open to? What is a closed society closed to? The ends of Open Society. Open Society and Its Enemies. Open Society and Capitalism. East Europe: democracy is less safely established than is capitalism and no signs of Open Society at all.


Gordon, Scott (1993): The History and Philosophy of Social Science. Routledge, Chapter 1 "Sociality and Social Science", pp.1-15

Dietrich Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Huber Stephens, and John D. Stephens (eds.)

Capitalist Development and Democracy. Polity Press and Basil Blackwell, 1992.

Lively, Jack Democracy. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1975.

Sørensen, Georg Democracy and Democratization. Westview Press, 1993, ch.1-2, pp.1-62.

Hart, Jeffrey A. Rival Capitalists. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992.

Albert, Michael Capitalism Agaist Capitalism. New York, 1993.

Krugman, Paul, "Competitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession", Foreign Affairs, vol. 73, No.2 (1994), pp.28-44, (and the discussion in the following issues).

Hirschman, Albert O., The Rhetoric of Reaction. Perversity, Futility, Jeopardy. Cambridge, MA, London: The Belkap Press of Harvard University Press, 1991, concluding section.

Held, David "Democracy, the Nation State, and the Global System", David Held (ed.) Political Theory Today. Stanford University Press, 1991.

Linz, J. J. and Alfred Stepan, Problems of Democratic Consolidation. Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe. The John Hopkins University Press, 1996, ch.2 pp.16-37 and ch.17-18, pp.293-365

Meš troviè , Stjepan The Road from Paradise. Prospects for Democracy in Eastern Europe. The University Press of Kentucky, 1993.

Strange, Susan State, Firms and Diplomacy. Jeffrey A. Frieden and David A. Lake (eds.) International Political Economy. Perspectives on Global Power and Wealth. London and New York: Routledge, 1995, pp.61-68.

Cohen, Benjamin J. Economic Relations in the Post-Cold War Era. Jeffrey A. Frieden and David A. Lake (eds.) International Political Economy. Perspectives on Global Power and Wealth. London and New York: Routledge, 1995, pp.519-531.

Young, Stephan and James Hamill Europe and the Multinationals. Aldershot: Edward Elgar, 1992.

Popper, Karl, The Open Society and Its Enemies. 5th ed, London:Routledge,1995.

Soros, George "Threat of Capitalism", The Atlantic Monthly, February 1997.

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