Contemporary Spanish Politics (in English)

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Contemporary Spanish Politics (in English)

  • Host University

    Universidad Pablo de Olavide

  • Location

    Seville, Spain

  • Area of Study

    European Studies, International Relations, International Studies, Political Science

  • Language Level

    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.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview


    This class will introduce students to the important historical, political, social, and economic aspects of contemporary Spanish politics. The first part of the class will examine the legacy of the Franco regime and the transition to democracy in Spain after 1975. The second part of the class will study the new political, social and economic institutions of the democratic regime. The last part of the class will focus on Spanish foreign policy in an era of globalization.


    1. Attendance and participation: Students are expected to attend all classes. If there is
    justifiable excuse for missing class, this information must be provided to the proper
    authorities as required. Active participation in class discussions is required.

    2. Timely Arrival: Students should plan to arrive to class on time. If the door is closed, please do not enter the classroom. Late arrivals count as absences according to the UPO´s policy.

    3. Readings: Students are expected to complete all required readings before coming to class.

    4. Midterm Exam: This will be taken in class, essay question style.

    5. Essay: Students will select a contemporary topic of interest to write a 10 page double spaced typed paper related to politics and society in contemporary Spain. The topic is due for approval by the fourth week of the class. Specifics will be provided in class.

    6. Final Exam: This will be taken in class during the final exam period.

    7. Academic Honesty: Students are expected to act in accordance with the University?s standards of conduct concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

    8. Newspapers/Magazines: All students should read a daily newspaper, preferably one in Spanish if possible and one from the United States. It is highly suggested that everyone begin to read THE ECONOMIST on a weekly basis. Copies of THE ECONOMIST may be found in the Centro de Estudios para Extranjeros office at the UPO. Here are some links which might be useful:;;;

    Grade Distribution:

    Active Participation: 20 %
    Midterm Exam: 25 %
    Essay: 25 %
    Final Exam: 30 %

    Class Packet:

    All the required readings are available on a CD to be handed out in class. You may print out the readings if necessary at the photocopy store on campus. Please think of conserving trees!!

    Some Relevant Links and Research Institutions on Spanish Politics Real Instituto Elcano:
    (You can also sign up for their bulletins and newsletters produced in Spanish and English.)

    Spanish Constitution:

    -Foreign Affairs Journal:
    -United Nations:
    -The Brookings Institute:

    European Political Science Resources:
    -European Foreign Policy Unit at LSE:
    -Spanish Safe Democracy Foundation:
    -Centro Investigaciones Sociológicas
    -Instituto Nacional de Estadística
    -Centro Reina Sofía Estudio de Violencia
    -Encuesta de Población Activa
    -Anuario Social de La Caixa


    -Royal House
    -Congress of Deputies
    -Senate (links to regional parliaments)
    -Government (links to regional governments)

    Political Parties:

    -CC http://www.coalició


    -El País
    -El Mundo
    -Tele 5
    -Televisión Española
    -Cadena Ser

    Cultural Resources:

    -Museo de El Prado
    -Instituto Cervantes
    -National Library
    -Museo Reina Sofía

    Here are some more links specifically about Spain, some of which may be found in English:

    -Photos of the transition:
    -Personal commentaries on Spain in the XXth Century: (only in Spanish)
    -The Spanish Monarchy: (in English)
    -CNN+ on Spanish Transition:
    (in Spanish)
    -Paul Preston´s account of the Spanish Transition: (in English)

    Bibliography: Required readings are indicated for each class. Additional handouts may be given out in class. Below are the complete references for the readings and additional books definitely worth reading at some point in your life.

    -Ramon Arango, Spain: Democracy Regained, 2nd ed., Boulder: Westview Press, 1995.
    -Sebastian Balfour and Paul Preston, Spain and the Great Powers in the Twentieth Century, New York: Routledge, 1999.
    -Raymond Carr and Juan Pablo Fusi, Spain: Dictatorship to Democracy London: Allen and Unwin, 1981.
    -Raymond Carr, Spain: A History, Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 2000.
    -Raymond Carr, Modern Spain: 1875-1980, Oxford U. Press, 1980.
    -Omar G. Encarnación, Spanish Politics. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2008.
    -Helen Graham, Spanish Cultural Studies: An Introduction?the Struggle for Modernity, Oxford: Oxford U. Press, 1995.
    -Richard Gunther, José Ramon Montero and Joan Botella, Democracy in Modern Spain, New Haven: Yale U. Press, 2004
    -Richard Gunther. Politics, Society, and Democracy: The Case of Spain. Boulder: Westview
    Press, 1993.
    -Richard Gunther, Giacomo Sani and Goldie Shabad, Spain after Franco: The Making of a Competitive Party System, Berkeley: U. California Press, 1986.
    -David Hanley and John Loughlin, eds, Spanish Political Parties, UK: U. Wales Press, 2006.
    -Paul Heywood, Politics and Polity in Democracy Spain: No Longer Different? NY: Frank Cass, 1999.
    -Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stephan, Problems of Democratic Transitions: Southern Europe, South America and Post-Communist Europe, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U. Press, 1996.
    -Jose Magone, Spanish Contemporary Politics, UK: Routledge, 2008.
    -Paul McDonough (ed), The Cultural Dynamics of Democratization in Spain, Ithaca: Cornell U. Press, 1998.
    -Guillermo O´Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter and Lawrence Whitehead, (eds) Transitions from
    Authoritarian Rule : Southern Europe, Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986.
    -Stanley Payne, Politics and Society in XXth Century Spain, New Viewpoints, 1976.
    -Howard R. Penniman and Eusebio M. Mujal-Leon, Spain at the Polls, AEI: Duke University Press, 1985.
    -Victor Perez-Diaz, The Return of Civil Society: The Emergence of Democratic Spain, Cambridge: Harvard U. Press, 1993.
    -Benny Pollack with Graham Hunter, The Paradox of Spanish Foreign Policy, New York: St. Martin´s Press, 1987.
    -Paul Preston, Triumph of Democracy in Spain, UK: Routledge, 1986.
    -Paul Preston, Franco, London: Harper Collins, 1993.
    -Francisco J. Romero Salvado, Twentieth Century Spain: Politics and Society in Spain 1898-1998, London: Macmillian, 1999.

    Visits and Guest Lecturers:

    Throughout the semester we will host guest lecturers and visit some places around Seville of interest to the class.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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