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Cover Democratization

18. A Decade of Democratic Decline and Stagnation  

M. Steven Fish, Jason Wittenberg, and Laura Jakli

This chapter examines key factors that lead to failed democratization. It first describes five categories of countries: established democracies, established autocracies, robust democratizers, tenuous democratizers, and failed democratizers. Using the Freedom House Index, it explains why some democratizers slid backwards while others did not. In particular, it looks at the conditions that undermine democracy and political actors, such as the chief executive, that contribute to democratization’s derailment. The chapter identifies several major structural factors that influence whether democratization succeeds fully, succeeds partially, or fails. These include poverty, a late history of national independence, a large Muslim population, economic reliance on oil and gas, and gender inequality. The chapter concludes by considering ways of reducing the hazards of democratic reversal and preventing relapses into authoritarianism, such as strengthening legislatures and curtailing executive power.

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.