This module involves a close, critical reading of democracy. We start by examining what we mean by democracy (representative, participatory, and communitarian) and pose the question: why do we assume that democracy is the best – or least worst – form of government? We shall examine alternatives to what we understand as democracy – including African traditional notions of government and the authoritarian populist systems of fascism and “communism”. From this we shall examine the classical notion of liberal democracy and its variants, before proceeding to address the crucial question facing liberal democracy – that of liberty versus equality: are there limits to one’s personal freedom in a democratic state, particularly one's economic freedom? To respond to this we shall consider the two positions of John Rawls (the notion of justice as fairness) and Robert Nozick (free market libertarianism), showing how this debate has evolved both theoretically and historically. Finally, we consider how globalisation has affected democracy as a system and theory and critically examine new notions of democracy that the new social movements and anti-globalisation activism have generated.