comp politics lec 5

comp politics lec 5 - Wednesday September 19, 2007:...

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Wednesday – September 19, 2007: Transitional Democracies “Transitional democracy” is a phrase used to describe those political regimes which are somewhere in-between non-democracy (e.g. authoritarianism) and consolidated democracy - Transitional democracies have elements of democracy by way of having some democratic institutions, and at the same time, they retain illiberal tendencies (for example, elections, but limited suffrage; other examples?) - typically, they are undergoing a process of democratization - NB: the process that brings about a transition, and the process of consolidation of a democratic regime may be different - transitions do not follow the same path - not all transitional democracies have the same characteristics - they are regimes whose democratic practices are not institutionalized (see Linz and Stepan) , and often the practices and political alliances of the past remain influential (see O’Donnell) Often, states’ political regimes are often categorized according to the period during which the democratic institutions emerged: 1 First Wave – democracies that emerged following WWI Second Wave - democracies that emerged following WWII, incl. former colonies Third Wave – democracies that emerged starting in mid-1970s in Southern Europe (Spain, Portugal, Greece), then South America, then Central and Eastern Europe, and then the former Soviet Union – the focus of the “transitions” literature I. Some transitional paths* ( see Bunce for discussion of other examples ) a. Path I – pacted agreement – where state power is transferred via negotiation between the weakened non-democratic ruler/regime to leader of a pro-democratic movement i. Example: Spain b. Path II - A revolution from below – mass movement (at the grassroots level) for democracy renders non-democratic ruler/regime illegitimate; leader of movement (may or may not be violent) i. Example: Poland c. Path III – democratization from above – some of the leaders in the non- democratic regime become convinced that reform – the adoption of democratic institutions – is necessary, or violence or instability might occur (making some concessions is seen as better than taking risk that all might be lost in a revolution) i. Example: USSR/Russia, Brazil in 1974 d. Path V – imposition from outside ? i. Example: Iraq is probably as good as any… 1 The use of the term “wave” is associated with Samual P. Huntington, and in particular his 1991 book The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth Century (Norman: Oklahoma University Press).
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e. Although scholars distinguish between transitions and consolidation, transitions can occur gradually, so the transition may happen only through consolidation ( Carothers’s piece discusses the problems with the transition paradigm, including the idea that transition occurs at a particular moment) i. Example: Mexico II. Some characteristics of transitional democracies a. O’Donnell ’s “ particularism ” (e.g. “clientelism”) – institutionalized
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comp politics lec 5 - Wednesday September 19, 2007:...

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