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POL3124 : Mexican Politics: Authoritarianism & Democracy

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rosario Aguilar
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Introduce the students to the study of politics in Mexico.
Comprehend the politics of authoritarianism and democratization focused on the Mexican case.
Understand the role of political institutions, political elites, and civil society in the democratization process
Analyse voters’ political behaviour during the authoritarian and democratic periods in comparative perspective
Understand the current challenges faced by Mexico’s political system

Outline Of Syllabus

The course will start with a brief introduction to the history of Mexico before the Mexican Revolution in 1910 to concentrate on the development of the hegemonic party system and its transformation into an authoritarian competitive regime. We will explore both the reasons that explain the stability of the hegemonic/authoritarian periods for over seven decades in the 20 century, as well as the democratisation process that involved social movements, economic crisis, an emerging civil society, and political elites. Finally, we will discuss Mexico’s current challenges that might complicate the consolidation of its democratic system.
1)       Pre-Revolutionary Mexico
2)       The Social Revolution of 1910 and the Constitution of 1917
3)       Hegemonic Period: Politics, Economics, and Society
4)       From Competitive Authoritarianism to Democracy: New Economic Paradigm, Social Movements, Political Elites, and Elections
5)       Presidentialism and Federalism under Democratic Rules
6)       Political Parties Before and After 2000
7)       Electoral Behaviour: Preferences, Identities, and Prejudice

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion182:0082:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching101:0010:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study182:0082:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are essential to explain key concepts, actors, and processes of Mexican politics. In addition to the lecturer extensive knowledge and research into the subjects studied, the lectures rely on use of power point slides as well as multi-media to provide students with examples and help them understand the readings and topics. The small discussion seminars will allow students to re-enforce the knowledge acquired through the readings and lectures as they will be able to come up with questions and continue their learning experience by discussing and exchanging points of views with other students.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A45N/A
Written Examination902A45N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M10In-class participation. Students should come prepared to participate and discuss the readings in the small group sessions.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The two written examinations will test students’ understanding of key concepts of politics in general as well as how they apply to Mexico in comparative perspective. The idea of having two written examinations is to ensure that students learn the concepts taught throughout the semester and are able to critically think about them. Finally, the participation component will motivate them to keep up with the readings, challenge their points of views while discussing with fellow students, and facilitate the final exam and essay writing. As a whole, the two tasks will enable students to end the module with a good understanding of broad concepts in politics and specific understanding of the Mexican context.

Reading Lists