This chapter examines the democratic revolutions that occurred in post-communist Europe since 1989. It first considers the beginning of the decline of communism and the failed attempts to reform communist one-party states from 1970 to 1988 as stage one of democratization. It then discusses the end of communist regimes as the second stage of democratization—between 1989 and 1991. It also looks at stage three of the democratization process, which focuses on the creation of new democracies. The chapter concludes with an assessment of the main drivers of successful democratization in post-communist Europe.
Christian W. Haerpfer and Kseniya Kizilova
This chapter examines the political consequences of different types of regime change in Southern Europe by comparing democratic transitions via ‘elite pacts’ or ‘elite convergence’ with those involving much higher levels of mass mobilization. It begins with overviews of the distinguishing features of the transitions to democracy in Portugal, Greece, and Spain, along with some observations about how the processes of regime transformation affected the conduct of politics for several years after democracy was established. It then considers the relevance of international actors and events, economic factors, as well as social-structural and cultural characteristics to processes of regime change. It also discusses lessons that can be drawn from the experiences of Portugal, Greece, and Spain and shows that the type of regime transition can have a significant impact on the success of democratization.
This chapter examines the major theoretical approaches to the issue of the international context of democratization. In particular, it considers democratization by means of ‘convergence’, ‘system penetration’, ‘internationalization of domestic politics’, and ‘diffusion’. It also discusses the principal dimensions of the international context, namely, the democracy promotion strategies of the United States and the European Union. The term ‘conditionality’ is used to describe the democracy promotion strategy of the EU. In the case of the United States, its leverage with respect to democracy promotion has been undermined by its military intervention and violation of human rights. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the effects of globalization and the formation of a global civil society on democratization.
John Markoff and Daniel Burridge
This chapter focuses on the great wave of democracy that had touched every continent. In the early 1970s, Western Europe was home to several non-democratic countries, most of Latin America was under military or other forms of authoritarian rule, the eastern half of Europe was ruled by communist parties, much of Asia was undemocratic, and in Africa colonial rule was largely being succeeded by authoritarian regimes. By the early twenty-first century, things had changed considerably, albeit to different degrees in different places. The chapter looks at regions of the world that underwent significant change in democracy between 1972 and 2004, including Mediterranean Europe, Latin America, Soviet/Communist Bloc, Asia, and Africa. It considers what was distinctive about each region’s democratization and what they had in common. It concludes with an overview of challenges faced by democracy in the early twenty-first century.