Parties, Parliaments and Democracy

Do political parties still perform their representational function? This is one of the main questions facing modern democracy. You will be addressing this issue both theoretically and empirically.

Almost everywhere political parties are facing an increasingly indifferent and even hostile electorate. Their monopoly on political representation is challenged by seemingly alienated citizens and populism. In this programme, you will explore the causes of the vulnerability of parties and examine the empirical indicators of their perceived decline. Does money rather than ideology determine which party or candidate wins elections? Do parties in parliaments reflect the diversity of today’s societies sufficiently? Do members have any influence on their parties? What is the role of the media in election campaigns? Perhaps most importantly, you will address the impact of the current state of parties and parliaments on democratic accountability and political legitimacy.

You will study in one of the most highly ranked departments of its kind in Europe. Your lecturers are scholars from many countries with expertise in various areas of political science, including comparative politics, political psychology, and political theory.

Why Political Science at Leiden University?

  • Leiden’s Institute of Political Science is one of the largest political science departments in Europe. It accommodates a wide range of (sub)disciplines and research interests.
  • Your lecturers are high ranking specialists in their field.
  • All courses are taught in small groups, allowing for personal contact with your fellow students, as well as your instructors.
  • Besides studying interesting themes, you will also familiarise yourself with the state-of-the-art in social and political science literature and research skills.
  • The city of Leiden is a popular student city, with attractive sights and a lively atmosphere. It proposes a wide variety of cultural, sports and leisure activities.

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Website Institute of Political Science

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Political Science
  • Degree Master of Science in Political Science
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 1 year
  • Start date September, February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60203

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