1_6_09 Comparative Authoritarianism

1_6_09 Comparative Authoritarianism - Comparative...

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Comparative Authoritarianism: Varieties of Regimes
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Concepts: Variables Structure and Agency Structure refers to the distinct patterns in social organizations that determine what decisions are possible. Institutions represent the “rules of the game.” Agency refers to the specific decisions that individuals make that drive politics in one direction or another. Example – What caused the breakdown of the USSR? Poor performance of the command economy or decisions by Gorbachev to promote reform? Example - What drives change in the US news media system? The emergence of cable news and economics of 24 hours news channels or Rupert Murdoch's decision to start Fox news?
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Minimum Definition of Democracy Elections open, free, and fair All adults possess the right to vote Political rights and civil liberties protected – especially freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Elected authorities real authority to govern (no overall control of military or clerical leaders) Democracies may violate these criteria, sometimes but not broad or systematic enough to impede democratic challenges to incumbents.
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Types of Arguments about Democratization Economic Arguments: capitalist development, rise of capitalist class (Moore) and middle class (Lipset) Modernization Theory Societal Arguments: development of civic political culture (Putnam, Almond & Verba). The civic culture is pluralistic, and "based on communication and persuasion, a culture of consensus and diversity, a culture that [permits] change but [moderates] it" (Almond and Verba 1963, 8) Stands in contrast to narrow parochial self-
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