Society and Politics in Contemporary Spain
Universidad Pompeu Fabra
Area of Study
European Studies, Political Science
Taught In English
Course Level Recommendations
ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.
Recommended U.S. Semester Credits3
Recommended U.S. Quarter Units4
Hours & Credits
This course is designed to give an overview of fundamental issues in the study of Spanish and Catalan politics. Its core is the study of the nature and functioning of the Spanish democratic system installed since the mid-seventies, paying special attention to its political processes, institutions, actors, political culture and electoral behavior. The course also introduces the previous Spanish democratic experience (2nd Republic, 1931- 1936), its collapse (Civil War, 1936-1939), the dictatorial rule under by Franco, and the Spanish transition to democracy (1975-1978) which has strongly influenced the current features of the Spanish and Catalan political systems
At the end of this course the students will be able: 1) to understand the development and working of the Spanish and Catalan political systems in the last decades within the context of the EU; 2) to comprehend the relationship between democracy and Spanish politics; 3) to become familiar with the key literature on Spanish and European comparative politics.
The workload of the course rests on the assigned readings that students are expected to complete prior to coming to class and to contribute to discussion during activities. That is, during lectures, I will pose questions to encourage students' participation and developing critical thinking. Students are expected to actively participate along the course with exercise, in-group activities and debates. Finally, they will have to make a home midterm exam and also home final exam.
Methods of Instruction
The course is structured in both lecture and participatory formats. Classes usually start with an introductory lecture where the professor will present the most relevant issues of the topic at stake. Topics are grouped into weekly format which include students’ activities oriented to relate concepts, to express original ideas as well as to develop their critical thinking on the topics under study. In addition, we will make a few selected field trips during the course aimed at improving the knowledge of the terrain.
Method of Assessment
The final grade will be calculated as follows:
Class attendance: 10%
Term papers: 20 %
Take Home Midterm exam: 35%
Final exam: 35%
Attending class is mandatory and will be monitored daily by professors. The impact of absences on the final grade is as follows:
Up to two (2) absences - No penalization
Three (3) absences - 1 point subtracted from final grade (on a 10 point scale)
Four (4) absences - 2 points subtracted from final grade (on a 10 point scale)
Five (5) absences or more - The student receives and INCOMPLETE for the course
The BISS attendance policy does not distinguish between justified or unjustified absences. The student is deemed responsible to manage his/her absences.
Emergency situations (hospitalization, family emergency, etc.) will be analyzed on a case-by-case basis by the Academic Director of the UPF Summer School.
-There will be a 10 minute break during the class.
Session 1 - Course description
Introduction to the Course
Principal contents and overview of the course.
Session 2 - Basic Historical and Political Facts
Origins of institutional structure
Session 3 - Transition from Dictatorship to Democracy
The democratic moment
What democracy is ... and is not
Democracy's Third and Fourth Waves
Dangers and dilemmas of democracy
Explanatory factors for the consolidation of a democracy.
Session 4 - The Transition to Democracy
Institutionalizing a new regime
The Constituent Process
The Constitution of 1978
Analytical perspectives about the transition process to democracy
Explaining successful democratic consolidation.
Session 5 - Parlamentarism versus Presidentialism, the Central Government, the executive and the Monarchy
Constitutional choices for new democracies
The virtues of parliamentarism
The virtues of presidentialism
The primacy of the particular
Eurpeaan and Spanish Parliamentarism.
The Head of the State
The Prime Minister
Making Laws in Spain; executives and legislatures
Monarchy in the Spanish Constitution.
Session 7 - Political Parties and Party System
Theory of political parties and party systems
Parties and party system in Spain
Power within parties
Party families in Spanish Politics
The role of national parties
The role of regional parties
New parties and movements in Spain.
Session 8 - [Field Trip] Museu d’Història de Catalunya
Session 9 - Elections, Electoral System and Legislatives
Theories of democratic institutions: consensus and majoritarian systems
The functions of legislatures
Bicameralism in Spanish politics
Checks and balances in the Spanish political system
The relationship between the legislative and the executive in Spain
Session 10 - Midterm (exam)
Session 11 - Gender and Politics
Parties and Gender
Session 12 - The territorial Model
Session 13 - Catalonia: history and politics
Session 14 - The self-determination debate
Accommodation and decentralization
Session 15- [Field Trip] Institut d’Estudis de l’Autogovern (Catalan Self-Government Institute
Session 16 - [ Field Trip] Catalan Parliament Visit
Session 17 - The EU and the Europeanization of the Spanish Political System
The European integration process
Europeanization and institutional analysis
Effects of the Europeanization process in the Spanish political system
The merger between the domestic and the European policy processes.
Session 18- Final Paper poster exhibition
Session 19 - Recap Social Q&A
Session 20 - Final Exam
Required Readings: The professor will assemble a coursepack/or indicate mandatory textbooks
Please note that there are no beginning level Spanish courses offered in this program.
Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.