Democracy and its enemies in the 21st century

Open studies

Date: 09.09.2022 - 07.10.2022
: 75 € ( VAT 0 %)
: 26.08.2022
: English
: Helsinki
: Matteo Stocchetti

Democracy and its enemies in the 21st century

1.     What's the scope of the course (in ECTS)?

The course is divided in 5 segments of 1 ects each. The whole course is worth 5 ects

 Type of course (level, specialisation, open course or other)

This is an introductory course (basic level) and in principle open (English fluency required)

2.     How many study places are there? (how many for students and how many can be offered through CL?)

Up to 20

3.     When will the course be held? Start and end date needed not just the period

Fridays, 9.9, 16.9, 23.9, 30.9 and 7.10, from 13:00 – 17:00

4.     Do you need prior knowledge/are there any eligibility criteria?

Fluency in English

 Contact details for the course coordinator (mail and phone)  [I am so not inclined to give my phone number…..]

 In your own words:

-What does the course cover?

In this course we will look at democracy in the 21st century, its distinctive features in the digital age and at its enemies. More precisely, we will look at the combination of factors that contribute to the strengthening or the weakening of democracy, to the nature of the challenges facing democratic regimes in Europe and elsewhere and to the nature of the responses that could address these challenges.

-Which concrete skills will the participants practice/develop?

Participants will learn 1) to recognise the fundamental features that distinguish democracy from non-democratic ideologies; 2) to identify the signs of non-democratic ideologies in political communication; 3) to develop the functional literacies and epistemic competences necessary for active participation in democratic politics in the digital age. 

-What will the participants learn/become better at?

1) Reading and comprehension in political communication; 2) democratic argumentation; 3) recognizing the influence of non-democratic ideologies in political communication; 4) recognise the political, cultural and psychological features of non-democratic ideologies of the 21st century; 5) develop personal and collective responses to the challenges for democracy associated with them.


-List questions that are raised/discussed during the course

The main learning goals of the course is to provide the conceptual tools to engage with and tentatively answer to the following questions:

·       What is democracy?

·       What are its strengths and weaknesses?

·       What are the factors that contributes to its strengths?

·       What are the factors that contributes to its weaknesses?

·       What can be done to resist the influence of non-democratic ideologies in democratic societies?


5.     Which learning methods will be used?

Keep in mind that people who are looking to participate in continued education need detailed information so they can decide whether they can manage the course load. Sometimes this information is also crucial to convince their own manager.

Please consider at least these questions:
-Which teaching methods are used (e.g. lectures, individual/group work, project work)

Lectures, individual readings and a little of audiovisual

-How many hours/days does the course require?

The work load is about 5 ects or 133 hrs distributed on 5 weeks so about 26 hrs per week or a little more than 3 hrs a day.

-Are the sessions held on evenings/weekends/day time?

On Fridays, afternoon from 13:00 to 17:00

-Online/on campus or both? How much on contact teaching on campus? Are lectures recorded and made available afterwards?

Preferably on campus but no recordings.

-How is the course examination carried out - exam, learning diary, group work?

A test/quiz for each segment (1 ects each) and a short essay at the end of the course.


6.     Why should one take this course?
-Which societal challenge or topical question does the course cover?

This course addresses the crisis of democracy and the ideals associated with it, and the challenges facing democratic societies in the West.

-What does taking the course support or open doors to?

Active and effective participation in democratic politics, resistance against the cultural and political influence of non-democratic ideologies through the development of critical thinking and interpretative competences (in technical terms ‘critique of ideology’)

-Does it offer concrete knowledge/skills required within that specific field today?

Yes, in a) functional literacy, b) political communication, c) critical hermeneutics, d) critical epistemic competences, which are fundamental for active participation in democratic politics.

-Is it an area going through a major shift at the moment?

Yes, and shift is usually referred to as a the ‘crisis of democracy’

-What development within this field does the course discuss?

The influence and the reasons for the appeal of non-democratic ideologies in democratic societies. In particular, we will look at how of socio-economic inequalities and insecurities erodes the tissue of society and support the ‘escape from freedom’ and the appeal of oppressive ideologies.



7.     Target group: For whom is the course intended?

We want the target group to recognize themselves. Ideally you can imagine at least 2-3 personas (age, interest, profession, educational background, working full-time/part-time, looking for a new field/promotion, wants to try studying within higher ed).

The ideal target audiences are: young adults with an interest in intellectual work and publishing in the profession of journalism, reportage, education but also arts, concerned about the future of democracy in the digital age and willing to do something about it.

Please keep at least these questions in mind:
- Are the participants experts within their field looking to deepen/broaden their knowledge?

No need to be expert

-Is the course suitable for people who want to try something new or change field?

Yes, e.g. bloggers, influencers, journalists, reporters but also undergraduate students

-Do the participants usually have joint interest for a certain area or field?

History, history of ideas, social activism, social work, publishing, etc.

-Is it an advantage to have work experience in general or could the course interest someone who studies within another field?

Work experience in journalism, reporting or similar and in education can be an advantage. But this course is a basic introduction and could interest also people from other fields.

-Could the course be interesting for experts within another field e.g. a course within occupational therapy that could be interesting for physiotherapists or a course within entrepreneurship that could be interesting for someone who has a degree in sports and health promotion?

Democracy and ideologies are social objects that have a widespread influence on virtually every dimension of social life. They contain implicit assumption e.g. concerning human nature, aging, physical proves, society, death etc. that surely affects the work of professionals in occupational therapy. Basic interpretative competences are necessary for every citizen in society, independently from their professional responsibility.



8.     What makes it unique or better than other similar courses?

Consider why someone should choose to take this course at Arcada. What makes the course stand out?
-Do the participants gain access to a network through Arcada?

If they want, sure

-Does the course contain interesting site visits or the like?


-Do we have expert guest lecturers participating?

Nope (because that would raise the costs)

-Unique study environment that we can offer?

I think what is unique is not necessarily the environment but my approach to the topic (political communication, political psychology and critique of ideology)




9.     Other advantages with the course?

Anything else you might want to add. You can for example share information on the experts the participants will be working with. What expertise do they have/what did they do before they became lecturers? Maybe they are still active within their field?




10.  What words would you use to do a Google search if you were looking for a course in this field? Please mention at least three.

Democracy and its enemies in the 21st century


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