Skip to main content
CODE 94855
SEMESTER 1° Semester


The lectures aim to stress the main problems linked to the transposition of liberal-democratic institutions, especially in developing countries and in general in countries without Western cultural traditions. The lectures aim to identify the problems relating to the attempts of implementing liberal-democratic institutions in such countries, as well as the adaptation solutions possibly able to get democracy working.  



Although democratic institutions spread in many countries after the end of the “cold war”, the differences in the economic, social and cultural background between developed and developing countries brought about important changes in both significance and working of such institutions. The lectures will examine: the main liberal-democratic juridical principles and institutions (for instance, separation of powers, rule of law, independence of the judges, electoral principles and systems, review of the constitution, and so on), the difficulties they run into and the changes they were forced to in their implantation in developing countries; as well as some forms of adaptation of traditional institutions in the light of the process of democratisation. The lectures will pay a particular attention to the following areas: Arab countries, Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, but some interesting experiences will be considered also from Southern and South-Eastern Asia and Oceania.



The lectures aim to:

Deepen the knowledge of both juridical principles and fundamental institutions of liberal-democratic systems;

Understand socio-political and cultural reasons making complex their implementation in countries without European cultural traditions;

Approach to the knowledge of both the institutions in developing countries and the political and cultural framework conditioning them;

Understand the transposition processes of democratic institutions, the related difficulties and the reasons of both failures and successes;

Develop skills of complementing each other the juridical, politicological, sociological, historical and anthropological approach in the study of the items in question, in order to develop a good ability of critical and multidimensional analysis. 

LEARNING OUTCOMES (in more detail):

After the lectures, the student should be able to:

Know and use accurately comparative legal and constitutional language;

Complement each other the juridical, politicological, sociological, historical and anthropological approach in the study of the subjects debated by the lectures, in order to develop a good ability of critical and multidimensional analysis;

Understand and retrace socio-political and cultural reasons that made complex the implementation of liberal-democratic values and institutions in States without European cultural traditions;

Discern the different political regimes and systems of government existing in developing countries and describe their working, also employing the needed extra-juridical scientific concepts (politicological, philosophical, religious, etc.);

Apply accurately comparative methodology in both the analysis and the critical evaluation of juridical institutions and political structures in the countries that are subject of the lectures;

Retrace, explain and evaluate critically the real working of a constitutional system, through critical analysis of constitutional (or constitutionally relevant) texts, documents and customs, as well as of every other historical and factual significant element (political and party systems, political and religious culture, etc.); 

Express thoroughly knowledge, opinions, problems and proposals, related to the discipline, to both expert speakers and not.  


To deal effectively with the contents of the discipline, it's necessary to know the basic foundations of constitutional and public law, political thought, contemporary political and institutional history, political and economical geography (especially of extra-European countries), political science and relations between politics and religions.

It could so be useful to have already passed or to study simultaneously for exams concerning the above-mentioned items.


The course is 36 hours long and gives 6 CFU. 

Lectures will be taught ONLY IN PRESENCE.

In every case, AulaWeb platform is going to be used to support educational purposes.

Lectures are going to be taught in the "Albergo dei Poveri" educational centre.

Teaching will be based mainly on lectures, possibly complemented by slides and/or other teaching media, but it can also involve seminars and students' guided research activities, with public exposition of the outcomes.

In some cases, the professor will look after providing or recommending (either during the lectures or through Aulaweb) readings and studies (in foreign languages, too), useful to the preparation of the following lectures.

External lectures, speeches and congresses related to the discipline could be considered as part of the course. In this case, the professor will inform the students about them, during the lectures and through AulaWeb.

For such reasons, students are heartily recommended to register themselves in the course page on AulaWeb platform. Such a page is going to be the official channel of communication between teacher and students, and all the informations on the course (including possible changes in the way the course will be taught) will be uploaded there.

The teacher is also the Department contact person for students with handicaps and/or learning disorders. Students in a certificated condition of handicap or learning disorder are warmly encouraged to contact him, at the beginning of the course, in order to agree teaching and exam methods that, still respecting the course aims, take into account the individual learning needs and offer adequate compensatory instruments.


Main items to deal with:

1 Historical introduction: institutions of the colonial system; impact of constitutional models of the colonial powers on decolonisation process; ethnical problems, economic and institutional underdevelopment and Cold War in the authoritarian regress since the Sixties of the last century

Thematic topics (they won't be debated separately, but in their interconnection):

1 Democratic transitions after the Cold War, paying particular attention to Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa; in this last case, focus on the dual effect of French Fifth Republic model in French-speaking Africa

2 Transformations of parliamentary representation and problems linked to electoral process, party system and cultural background of the electoral body

3 The “Arab spring”, its institutional consequences and the persistent multiplicity of political regimes in the Arab world

4 State institutions, religion and the difficult acculturation of the principle of secularism. Speaking of which, particular attention will be paid to the Islamic world, trying to let know the different developments of a theocratic paradigm which is anything but univocal

5 State structure and “other” (tribal, ethnical, etc.) belongings: essays of institutional hybridization in some countries of Africa and Oceania

6 The importation of constitutional review models and the problem of their manipulation and/or the existence of meta-constitutional values considered higher than the same Constitution

7 Gender problems, rules about women in politics and features of the political representation: women’s role in the institutions

The course contributes towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals nn. 4, 5 and 16 of the UN 2030 Agenda.


A syllabus about the items to deal with in the course doesn’t exist.

For such a reason, the professor will provide during the lectures and through Aulaweb the needed bibliographical references and papers (in foreign languages, too, according to students' linguistic skills). 



Exam Board


MARIA ANGELA ORLANDI (President Substitute)



Teaching activities will occur during the first term. 

Date of beginning and scheduled time of the lectures will be delivered as soon as possible.



The exam will be oral and in Italian but, upon justified request, it could be written and/or in other languages (English, French, Spanish and Portuguese are available).

During the exam, at least three items related to the discipline will be debated, starting from more general concepts to reach then an higher degree of detail. In case of written exam, it will consist in three open questions at different degrees of detail. 

The examination board is appointed by the Department Council and, except in the case of hindrance, chaired by the professor in charge of the course.

The exams will be in person.


First of all, the student should demonstrate: the knowledge of the course topics, an accurate use of the language, a suitable order in the presentation of the subjects, competence in the technical language, juridical, politicological and historical.

A preferential evaluation will be conferred to the following skills: the ability to re-elaborate in a critical way the acquired information and the concerned topics; the accurate implementation of the comparative methodology; the ability to analyse critically constitutional (or constitutionally relevant) texts, documents and customs, as well as every other historical, anthropological and factual element (political and party systems, political and religious culture, etc.) significant in the real working of the constitutional systems in question; the possible expression of personal considerations, duly reasoned and justified, according to the acquired data and comparative methodology.