The course program is divided into two parts. The first part deals with some fundamental theoretical questions of political science: which is the definition of politics, policy and polity, what is a democracy, and what are non-democratic regimes. In the second part, the course focuses on an in-depth analysis of contemporary democracies. More specifically, it focuses on two different thematic areas: the first examines the actors of representation and political participation (political parties, interest groups, collective movements). The second part outlines the relationships between parliamentary institutions, governments and public bureaucracies.