Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview

Under a unifying theme of democratisation, this unit examines the political history, governing systems and leadership transformation in Asian states. Asia is defined generously to include the Middle East and subcontinent as well as Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia, mirroring the broad sweep of the post-Cold War wave of democratisation. Following a comprehensive introduction to contending theories of political change and democratic transition, the unit draws on the expertise of staff in Political Science and International Relations and Asian Studies to examine a number of specific countries and regions. Case studies provide an opportunity to explore subthemes such as the relationship between Islam and democracy (Middle East), ethnic diversity (the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia) and the military and democracy (Burma, Indonesia, Thailand). Debates surrounding assumed linkages between economic development and democracy are also examined, with India and Singapore case studies providing fascinating contrasts. Prospects of a democratic China are also explored, drawing lessons from the successful experience of democratic transformation in Taiwan. The unit concludes by drawing comparisons and examining the theoretical implications of the case studies. Democratisation in Asia seeks to complement the study of international relations in East Asia, comparative politics, Asian societies and Australia's foreign policy.

The academic objectives of the unit are to (1) develop knowledge and understanding of key theories of political change and democratic transition; (2) evaluate theoretical debates about the causes, processes and prospects of democracy in the Asian context; (3) develop an appreciation of the variety of political cultures in the Asian region and the multiple paths of democratisation; (4) develop knowledge of specific states and societies experiencing democratic transitions; (5) improve interpersonal and communication skills; and (6) develop the ability to conduct independent research utilising a variety of sources.
6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2OnlineOnline timetabled
Non-standard teaching periodHong KongFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 option in the Asian Studies major sequence
  • Level 3 elective
Students are able to (1) explain, and engage critically with, the conceptual frameworks, techniques of investigation, core generalisations and key debates associated with the subfield; (2) explain key theories of political change—their utility and limitations in interpreting democracy and democratisation in the Asian context; (3) demonstrate knowledge of post-Cold War debate on democracy and human rights; (4) demonstrate an understanding of the variety of political cultures in the Asian region and the multiple paths of democratisation; (5) explain the operation of political systems in leading states such as Japan, China and Indonesia; (6) communicate independently generated arguments and critical analysis of published research in a coherent and logical manner in both written and oral forms; (7) work collaboratively on substantial research or analytical tasks as a member of a small group, providing and assimilating critical commentary; (8) demonstrate research skills appropriate for locating, assessing and making sophisticated use of relevant primary and secondary materials; (9) demonstrate advanced skills of problem analysis and critical reasoning, strongly informed by relevant theory; and (10) undertake independent, enquiry-based learning and research which reflects advanced knowledge of the subfield.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) tutorial participation and presentation; (2) written assignments; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor David Bourchier (Hong Kong)
Unit rules
any Level 2 ASIA unit, Level 2 ANTH unit or Level 2 POLS unit
SOCS2228 Democratisation in Asia
Contact hours
lectures: 20 hours; tutorials: 9 hours
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.