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Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

12. International Drivers of Democracy  

This chapter explores the international forces that shape democratic development. International dynamics influence the balance of power among domestic actors, which can shape a country's prospects for the onset and deepening of democracy. In fact, a large and growing body of research underscores that factors taking place outside a country's borders have played a significant and under-examined role in regime change and democratic development. These external factors include diffusion, foreign intervention, linkages (like trade and cross-cultural contacts), and foreign aid. One of the key takeaways of is that geopolitics matter. When the international system is led by a single democratic power, the democratic super-power and its partners can use trade, aid, and other linkages to encourage the onset and consolidation of democracy. Once competing authoritarian regimes emerge, however, these dictatorships can use the same tools in ways that dilute democratic leverage.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

14. Political Parties  

Leonardo Morlino

This chapter examines the role of political parties in the processes of democratization, that is, during transition, installation, and consolidation, and the possible phases of democratic crisis. It first considers the definition of a political party within the processes of democratization before discussing how parties can be indispensable for the actual working of democracy. It then explores the actual role of political parties during transitions to democracy and during democratic consolidation, and in different types of crises. It also describes basic patterns of transition to democracy as well as key elements of democratic consolidation, including electoral stabilization and emergence of recurring patterns of party competition. The chapter shows that parties are dominant in the process of transition, even if not always hegemonic.

Chapter

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

9. Cultural, Social, and Historical Drivers of Democracy  

This chapter assesses culture as a driver of democracy. Despite the popularity of cultural theories of democracy, there is little empirical evidence to support them. The chapter highlights that although research does not support the notion that cultural factors cause democratization, there is some evidence indicating that culture—as expressed through values, attitudes, and beliefs—affects the persistence of stable democracy. Once democracy has emerged, democracy is most likely to deepen and endure where elites gradually adopt a values-based commitment to the rules of the democratic game. Beyond culture, the chapter also examines several historical drivers of democracy. In particular, it focuses on the most widely discussed social and historical drivers in the academic literature, including state identity and boundaries, ethnic cleavages, and historical experience with democracy and dictatorship. For each of the drivers, the chapter considers how they influence both democratization and democratic consolidation.

Chapter

Cover Politics in the Developing World

14. Democratization and Regime Change  

Lise Rakner

This chapter explores the link between democratization and regime change in the developing world. It begins with a discussion of theories of democratization, along with recent trends and understandings of democratic consolidation. It then considers variations within democratic and autocratic regimes and the different ways of measuring democracy. It also examines how domestic and international factors interact to affect politics in developing countries in general and processes of democratization in particular. Finally, it evaluates international dimensions of democratization, focusing on the significance of democratization for international development. It reflects on how the global good governance regime is adopting to a world that is no longer bipolar and in which U.S. (Western) hegemonic power is reduced.

Chapter

Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

11. Institutional Drivers of Democracy  

This chapter describes how the institutional design of new democracies affect their political evolution. By institutions, it refers to formal political institutions, including political parties, electoral systems, and state design (namely federal versus unitary states). In addition to the decision to create a federal versus a unitary state, some scholars and policymakers have advocated for a consociational approach to democracy in countries that feature significant ethnic, religious or other cleavages. Consociational democracy is essentially a democracy that allows for significant power sharing—or the ability to access positions of power—among the country's various factions. Ultimately, institutions can play a particularly critical role in the consolidation and sustainment of democracy because they structure and constrain political behaviour. The chapter then considers the relationship between institutions and democratization.