chapter7_cq--C

chapter7_cq--C - Principles of Comparative Politics Chapter...

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Principles of Comparative Politics Chapter 7: Cultural Determinants of Democracy
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Introduction In the last chapter, we examined how economic development and the structure of the economy influenced the likelihood that a country will become and remain a democracy. In this chapter, we focus on the relationship between culture and democracy. Does democracy require a “democratic culture”? Are certain cultures incompatible with democracy?
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Cultural Arguments Primordialist arguments treat culture as something that is objective and inherited; something that has been fixed since “primordial” times. Primordialist arguments imply that democracy is not for everyone. Constructivist arguments treat culture as something that is constructed or invented rather than inherited. A democratic culture is required for democracy. However, cultures are malleable and are not given once and for all. Cultures are not impenetrable barriers to democratization.
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Classical Cultural Arguments The notion that democracy or authoritarianism is more suited to some cultures than others has a long history. Aeschylus, The Persians, 472 BC. Authoritarianism in Asia, democracy in Athens.
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Classical Cultural Arguments Montesquieu (1721, 1752) Each form of government requires definite cultural patterns to be present to endure: Monarchy is most suited to European states. Despotism is most suited to the Orient. Democracy is most suited to the ancient world. He said that the best government for a given country was that which “leads men by following their propensities and inclinations” and which “best agrees with the humour and disposition of the people in whose favour it is established.”
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Classical Cultural Arguments Montesquieu (1721, 1752) Political institutions “should be in relation to the climate of each country, to the quality of its soil, to its situation and extent, to the principal occupation of the natives, whether husbandmen, huntsmen, or shepherds: they should have relation to the degree of liberty which the constitution will bear; to the religion of the inhabitants, to their inclinations, riches, numbers, commerce, manners, and customs.” As a result, Montesquieu says that it is only by chance that you can successfully export the institutions of one country to another.
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John Stuart Mill (1861) “No one believes that every people is capable of working every sort of institutions.” (Mill 1861) Example: “Nothing but foreign force would induce a tribe of North American Indians to submit to the restraints of a regular and civilized government.” Even those who wanted civilized government could not sustain it without the right “mental” and “moral habits.” They also needed some degree of development. Legislators should take account of “pre-existing habits and feelings”
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This note was uploaded on 05/25/2010 for the course POSC 15 taught by Professor Indrig during the Spring '10 term at UC Riverside.

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chapter7_cq--C - Principles of Comparative Politics Chapter...

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