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POS350 Notes 11

by: Alexandria Paterson

POS350 Notes 11 POS350

Alexandria Paterson
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These notes cover the process of Democratization and the Rationalist, Structuralist and Culturalist approaches regarding it's development.
Comparative Politics
Class Notes
POS350, Global Comparative Politics, comparative, Politics, Comparative Politics, ASU, notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Alexandria Paterson on Thursday October 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POS350 at Arizona State University taught by Koehler in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see Comparative Politics in Humanities and Social Sciences at Arizona State University.

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Date Created: 10/13/16
POS 350 Thursday, October 13 th2016 Notes 11 Democracy Throughout the World - Since the 1990s, Democracy has spread widely throughout the World, primarily in regions such as South America, Eastern Europe and parts of Asia - 1991 Democracies became more prevalent than Authoritarian regimes - However, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have been “left behind” and many of the new democracies throughout the world are in danger of sliding back into authoritarianism  Why has Democracy been spreading?  Why do some countries Democratize while others done, or even De- Democratize?  Are certain factors within societies conducive to Democratization and what are those factors?  Are some types of authoritarian regimes more resistant to Democratization than others? Democracy - What is “Democracy” is a very contested subject - There are competing definitions among political scientists as well as political practitioners - Especially for research, as our definitions determine how we classify different cases when conducting our analyses In political science, democracy is often defined “formally,” in terms of: procedures, Constitutional Provisions and Principles. Anthony Giddens offers one such definition: “I would say democracy exists where you have a multiparty system with political parties competing with one another, free and non-corrupt voting procedures to elect political leaders, and an effective legal framework of civil liberties or human rights that underlie the mechanisms of voting processes.” (add universal suffrage) - A competitive Multiparty Systems - Free and non-corrupt elections - An effective legal framework of civil liberties or human rights - Universal Suffrage Substantive Definitions of democracy - Formal democracies might exist in name, but might not be very democratic in practice or in reality - Substantive definitions look more at the quality of political life within countries/societies in order to define democracy - Include factors like individual and social freedom, social equality, human welfare and public deliberation Researchers do adopt Formal Definitions - Sometimes they offer greater specificity and are easier to work with even if they might not be perfect - If they let us accurately distinguish between actual democracies and autocratic or authoritarian regimes, they can be useful - When defining democracy, we also need to Operationalize it - We need to define it in a way so that it can be measured - This includes stating the features of democracy we find important which might be simple yes/no distinctions - We need to look at the degree to which different features of democracy exist In explaining democratization, we need to ask: Who does democracy favor? - Democracy doesn’t necessarily benefit everyone equally and isn’t always necessarily in the interest of everyone - Particularly important consideration from a Rational Actor perspective Opponents of Democracy - Often, dominant groups in non-Democracies oppose democratization - Often wealthy and power - Democratization would lessen their own power, shifting some of their power to lower, oppressed classes - Historically, Landowners have been seen as the class most opposed to democratization because they depended highly upon the labor of oppressed lower classes - In highly unequal, non-Democratic societies there are large classes of poor and exploited people - In a Democratic System, these people would surely want to restructure society and the government to redistribute resources - Undermining or Destroying the previous Economic Political Elite - It’s often in the interest of the Elite to oppose democracy Supporters of Democracy - Anyone who might benefit from a greater political voice and greater political equality - Usually identified as: middle class, working class, the petite bourgeoisie, intellectuals (university students and academics) With Democracy - There is an obvious and inherent tension between Democracy and Inequality - Democracies are associated with Equality - Most typically meaning Equality of Opportunity and Political Equality - Democracy is very much an issue of power Democratization - Doesn’t just “happen” - Not an automatic or fast process - Democracy is the product of political struggle among competing groups with competing interests - Democratization requires a shift in power between or among groups - Democratization is never guaranteed and is often strongly opposed - Rationalists, Structuralists, and Culturalists all differ in their explanations - But there is a strong amount of overlap between each of them regarding this topic in particular - Who are the key agents of change in democratization? Elites? Lower classes? Ecternal actors? - Do certain conditions need to exist before democratization can begin? Or is it possible under any circumstances? - How does the struggle for power unfold? Structuralism - Structuralists view democratization as shaped by broader structural changes in a state or society - Changes that reorder the balance of power among different classes - Subordinate classes need to have enough power to challenge the elites or dominant classes - But how do they get the power to do so? - Subordinate classes get power, Structuralists argue, as a byproduct of the Capitalist Development - Capitalism gives subordinate classes the capacity to Self-Organize - It brings these lower classes together in cities and factories - Instead of being spread out, they can communicate and share ideas faster and easier and more easily organize themselves to oppose the dominant classes - Capitalism also creates a highly dependent society - The Capitalists or dominant class relies upon the work of the lower classes - It also creates a tension within the dominant class between landowners and industrialists - In many ways, capitalism shifts wealth and power to those who own factories and produce manufactured goods - More power among the lower classes doesn’t automatically lead to democracy - Sometimes subordinate groups are co-opted by the elites given a bit more power or prestige, enough to keep them happy, but they still remain subservient - Sometimes subordinate groups are still not strong enough to topple the dominant class - Sometimes the state has too much power to be opposed - Generally, Structuralists view capitalist development as they underlying process which democracy emerges th - Which might somewhat help explain why Democracy is basically a 20 century phenomenon: capitalism has really only become prevalent over the last 100 years - Democracy is basically an unintended outcome of capitalism Singapore is an exception - Highly authoritarian, but also a highly developed, capitalist country  What about China? As China continues to experience liberal economic reforms, will it democratize or will it end up like Singapore? Also, what about the actions of individuals? Rationalism - People make democracies, not invisible, or inert structures - Capitalism isn’t the key process in Democratization - Subordinate classes do matter, but many rationalists tend to put greater emphasis on the interests and actions of the elites - Don’t like to focus on underlying economic structures. Instead they see democracy as possible in any economic context - Elites matter most and are they key actors/agents/ for others, subordinate groups are the key agents of political change - Democratization is the result of negotiations among the Elites, called Pacting (and thus democratization is deliberate and cooperative). - Which happens when there are splits within the elite - Others argue that: Democratization is non-cooperative and is the product of coercion - Authoritarian leaders leave office when facing the possibility of violent opposition from lower groups Democratization from Above: Elite based / cooperative Democratization from Below- Non-Cooperative / based on actions of subordinate classes Non-cooperative explanations: - Democracy is the product of people who want it and are willing to risk their lives for it - This changes the strategic environment for elites and political leaders - It changes their choices and what decisions are rational - Attempting to stay in power might no longer be rational if eites face a strong/serious, violent opposition Both the Cooperative and Non-Cooperative explanations have Empirical Support - Latin American cases of Democratization generally support the Elite Centered explanation - Post-Communist cases (Easter Europe) support the Bass Based explanation where democratization wasn’t entirely top-down Authoritarian Regimes - Military Regimes: Dominated by military leaders that came to power through coups - Personalist Regimes: Charismatic leaders who individually dominate the political process (dictators, etc.) - Single Party Regimes: Highly disciplined and organized single-party structure (opposing political parties are not tolerated) - Amalgam Regimes: some combination of the above - (can be an independent variable)  Military Leaders are often seen as most concerned with the survival and efficacy of the military and not so much concerned with political power and governing a country Thus they often return to the barracks and give up control over a country after an acceptable new regime can take over which may help Democratization  Personalist Leaders have an over-riding interest in remaining in power Typically rule very harshly and face severe consequences if they’re overthrown (exile, imprisonment, death). Thus, they are unlikely to give up power.  Single Party Leaders also have an over-riding interest in remaining in power but are usually more stable than Personalist Regimes and can also often co-opt opposition and bring them into their Single-Party - Military regimes are seen as the most likely to break down or give up power since militaries are usually not interested in political power or governance, they don’t want divisions to develop that might threaten the military - Personalist and Single Party regimes are both more resistant to breakdown and have leaders that have more to lose and often fight strongly to maintain power (non-cooperative) and their grip on power is so strong that serious opposition doesn’t have the chance to form - Due to this, exogenous shocks (like invasions by other states) are one of the primary ways personalist and single party regimes can be overthrown


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