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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.

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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.

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Cover Democratization

20. Latin America  

Andrea Oelsner and Mervyn Bain

This chapter examines the main features of the undemocratic regimes that were in power in Latin America from the late 1960s, along with the democratization processes that followed since the 1980s. The nature of the non-democratic governments varied throughout the region, and consequently the types of transition and the quality of the resulting democracy varied as well. The chapter focuses on four cases that reflect these differences: Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Venezuela. For each country, the chapter reviews a number of dimensions that have been relevant in the democratization processes: the historical and international contexts, the role of economic factors, political culture and society, political parties and social movements, and the institutional challenges that still lie ahead.

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Cover Democracies and Authoritarian Regimes

13. The Rise of Populism and Its Impact on Democracy  

This chapter studies the rise of populism and its impact on democracy. Populism is an ideology that separates society into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups: ‘the pure people’ and ‘the corrupt elite’. Moreover, populism makes moral distinction between these groups; it seeks to valorise and legitimize the people while denigrating the elite. The chapter then describes the key attributes of populist leaders and their supporters. Although not inherently anti-democratic, populism does run counter to the liberal democratic ideal that emphasizes the protection of rights. Populists look to place the needs of the majority or native group ahead of individual liberties and needs. Finally, the chapter considers the underlying drivers of the rise of contemporary populism. These drivers fall into three broad categories: economic, including globalization and the economic stasis and inequality that has occurred along with it; the declining importance of political parties; and a cultural backlash against progressive values.

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Cover Democratization

13. Conventional Citizen Participation  

Ian McAllister and Stephen White

This chapter examines the most visible and politically important act of conventional citizen participation: turning out to vote in a national election. Patterns of political participation are influenced by a variety of institutional factors, such as the type of electoral system and the number of political parties in a country, along with individual socioeconomic factors such as a person’s educational attainments or income. A particular problem in many previously authoritarian societies is the absence of a diverse civil society, so that the social trust upon which a healthy democracy depends is often absent. The chapter first considers various dimensions of political participation before discussing voter turnout in democratic countries. It then analyses the effects of institutional arrangements such as election rules, the type of electoral system, and the party system on political participation. Finally, it describes some of the factors that determine whether or not citizens participate in politics.

Chapter

Cover Democratization

24. Sub-Saharan Africa  

Michael Bratton

This chapter examines efforts to introduce multi-party politics into Sub-Saharan Africa during the 1990s. It first considers regime changes in the region and shows that they result from the ‘conjuncture’ of various forces. Some of these forces are structural—such as the decline of African economies, the end of the Cold War—but political actors produce others, like incumbents’ concessions, opposition protests, and military withdrawals from politics. With reference to various African examples, the chapter emphasizes the important role played by certain structural conditions in transitions to democracy during the 1990s, but suggests that outcomes more often hinged on purposive political action. It also analyses the quality of resultant African regimes and concludes by identifying several fundamental constraints on further democratization including endemic poverty and weak states.