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Highs and Lows in Recent Democratization Trajectories

Comparative Politics
Democracy
Democratisation
P167
Andrea Cassani
Università degli Studi di Milano
Luca Tomini
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Luca Tomini
Université Libre de Bruxelles

Friday 17:40 - 19:20 (09/09/2016)

Building: Faculty of Arts Floor: 2 Room: FA209

Abstract

In 1991 Larry Diamond and Marc Plattner edited a Journal of Democracy collection announcing “The global resurgence of democracy”. Twenty-five years later, the same authors ask: “Is democracy in decline?”. These thought-proving, and admittedly sensationalistic, titles cannot summarize alone more than two decades of intensive research on democracy and democratization. Yet together they provide the basic coordinates of a debate in which moods have progressively shifted from a sometimes over-optimistic view of the future, to a more sceptical account of post-Cold War democratic transitions, and to a largely pessimistic analysis of ongoing events. Obviously, the “democratization by ebbs and flows” model is imperfect. Reality is more complex than what the waves’ metaphor can tell. Most importantly, defined paraphrasing Huntington as “a group of transitions from [democratic to nondemocratic] regimes that occur within a specified period of time and that significantly outnumber transitions in the opposite direction during that period” (1991: 15), a third reverse wave of de-democratization is probably not under way, thus far. Yet it would be an even worse mistake to dismiss that “de-democratization remains a possibility everywhere in the world” (Tilly 2003: 37), and that several worrisome signs have recently emerged. With the aim of getting a more nuanced overall picture of current democratization trajectories, the panel collects paper proposals that illustrate and analyse recent democratization-related events. These include both ‘positive’, or at least promising cases – e.g. transitions from autocracy to democracy, democratic progress in defective democracies and/or electoral autocracies – and ‘negative’ and/or distressful ones – e.g. democratic breakdowns, loss of democratic quality, reversals of democratic transitions. Priority has been given to cases referring to the past fifteen years. The focus of the panel is mainly empirical, while no preclusion holds concerning the methodology, the approach, and the selection of (how many and which) cases. The goal is to cover different world regions, including East-Central Europe, Balkans, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Title Details
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Independent candidates: revitalising Mexican democratisation, gaining citizen’s trust? View Paper Details