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POL3124 : Mexican Politics: Authoritarianism & Democracy

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rosario Aguilar
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 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 democratisation process.
Analyse voters’ political behaviour during the authoritarian and democratic periods from a 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 into 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 20thcentury, 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
8)       Current Challenges: Discrimination, Corruption, Rule of Law, Cartels, and Violence

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials112:0022:00Pre-recorded lecture materials
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities113:0033:00Quizzes; guided questions/tasks based on reading and lecture content
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PIP Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study1123:00123:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesModule talk111:0011:00Q&A Feedback Hour with ML; PiP Student Consultation and Feedback
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 PowerPoint 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 reinforce the knowledge acquired through the readings and lectures, as the students 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

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1M15Quizzes, answers to questions during seminars whether is synchronous or not, work with other students.
Essay1M151000 word essay plan with annotated bibliography.
Essay1M602000 word essay
Prof skill assessmnt1M10Peer review of essay plan - Students will evaluate each other’s essay plan and provide constructive feedback.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The quizzes and collaborative work aims to keep students engaged through the semester with the module. Students will be able to complete all tasks whether they can be in person for the seminar or not. In case students cannot attend the seminar, they will reply to the tasks other students carried out during the seminar. Finally, the essay plan will provide time and space for students to plan how to answer the essay question they choose for the final essay as well as the sources they will use to do so. Students will engage in peer-review of the plan in order to assimilate better the essay requirements and think about how to improve their own essay while giving other students feedback. Finally, the essay will help students develop their written skills while improving their critical thinking and writing abilities. As a whole, the 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