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by: Lilayali Garcia

CHAPTERS 7 & 8 CPO 2002

Lilayali Garcia
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CHAPTER 7: Cultural Determinants of Democracy CHAPTER 8: Democratic Transitions
Quintin Beazer
Class Notes
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lilayali Garcia on Thursday October 13, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CPO 2002 at Florida State University taught by Quintin Beazer in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see INTRODUCTION TO COMPARATIVE POLITICS in Political Science at Florida State University.


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Date Created: 10/13/16
Chapter 7: Cultural Determinants of Democracy  Primordialist arguments treat culture as objective and inherited.  Imply that democracy is not for everyone.  Constructivist arguments treat culture constructed or invented.  Cultures are malleable and not fixed.  Cultures are socially constructed. Cultural Arguments  Cultural Modernization Theory: argues that socioeconomic development does not directly cause democracy; instead, economic development produces certain cultural changes and it’s these cultural changes that ultimately produce democratic reform. Problem 1: What is it about culture that matters?  The specifics are vague.  Are particular morals incompatible? Are certain customs problematic? Most theorists point to non-cultural things that matter as well, such as development.  If culturist arguments are to have any explanatory power, they must distinguish and specify what it is that matters. Problem 2: What is the causal relationship between cultural, economic, and political factors?  Does culture cause democracy? Does it also cause economic development? Or does democracy and development cause culture? Civic Culture A civic culture is a shared cluster of attitudes that includes things like:  a high level of interpersonal trust,  a preference for gradual societal change,  a high level of support for the existing political system,  and high levels of life satisfaction. Three types:  Parochial: suitable for traditional system of African tribes.  Subject: suitable for centralized authoritarian systems.  Participant: suitable for democracy.  Almond and Verba, The Civic Culture, 1965  A&V believed that we can study culture by conducting surveys. The answers to the survey reflect the political culture.  They found that the United States and UK had political cultures that most closely resembled the civic culture. Civic culture can be characterized by:  Belief individuals can influence political decisions.  Positive feelings toward the political system.  Belief other citizens are trustworthy.  Preference for gradual societal change. Surveys and Democracy World Values Survey  Has conducted interviews in eighty societies.  Addresses issues of sociocultural and political change.  Main question: “Democracy may have problems, but it’s better than any other form of government. Could you please tell me if you strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree?”  To study the emergence of democracy, surveys would need to be conducted in dictatorships.  A common problem with all surveys is that individuals often understand the “same” question in vastly different ways.  You might find that people in full democracies are willing to complain more than people who are dictatorships or struggling democracies!  Citizens of the most democratized countries have the right to speak their mind without worry of state suppression  Citizens of dictatorships might fear the state Religion and Democracy  Huntington claimed that certain cultures are incompatible with democracy.  All religions have doctrinal elements that make them seem both compatible and incompatible with democracy.  Growing evidence that cultures are invented, constructed, and malleable rather than primordial, inherited, and unchanging.  Often depends less on the content of religious doctrine.  All religions have historically been compatible with a broad range of political institutions.  Most arguments that particular religions are incompatible with democracy are implicitly based on observations of the world at a particular point in time. Experiments and Culture Ultimatum Game  The Set-up  Players–there is a “proposer” and a “responder.”  The proposer is given a divisible pie: money.  The Procedure  Step 1: The proposer offers some of the pie to the responder.  Step 2: The responder knowing the offer and size of the pie has to accept or reject the offer.  The Outcome  If the responder accepts, she gets to keep the offer and the proposer keeps the rest.  If the responder rejects, then neither player receives anything.  If the players are self-interested we would expect the proposer to offer ε, where ε is close to zero, and keep the rest (1 - ε) for himself.  We would expect the responder to accept this offer because ε > 0. Dictator Game  The Dictator Game is exactly the same as the Ultimatum Game except that the responder is not given an opportunity to accept or reject the offer.  The proposer (dictator) merely dictates the division.  Test of fairness (as opposed to the ultimatum game)  If the players are self-interested we would expect the proposer to offer zero and keep everything for himself.  Subjects play anonymously.  Stakes of the game denominated in money.  Self-interested model is not supported in any society studied  Proposers nearly always make positive offers.  Mean offer is 44 percent. Modal offer is nearly 50 percent.  Responders reject a lot of positive offers, especially if they are low.  Offers of less than 20 percent are rejected with 40-60 percent probability. Experiments and Culture Fifteen Small-Scale Societies  Twelve countries on five continents  Three foraging societies  Six slash-and-burn horticulture societies  Four nomadic herding groups  Two sedentary, small-scale agriculture societies  These societies exhibited a wide range of cultural and economic environments.  We can think of democracy as a game that individuals must play.  Some countries will find it easier to support democracy than others because the individuals in those countries will have analogous games in their everyday lives that make it beneficial and easier for them to play the democracy game.  In other words, culture–a shared way of playing games–may well affect the emergence and survival of democracy.  We need more research on this question–we just don’t know at the moment. Chapter 8: Democratic Transitions 1. External imposition: External forces impose democracy. 2. Bottom-up transition: Citizens overthrow an authoritarian regime in a popular revolution. 3. Top-down transition: The dictatorial ruling elite introduces liberalizing reforms that ultimately lead to transition. 1. External Imposition  Intervention may promote temporary democratic reform, but also leads to political instability.  Studies of U.S. intervention find that it does not typically lead to democracy.  Intervention by the UN or dictatorial states leads to a reduction in democracy.  Intervention by democracies produces the trappings of democracy, such as elections and legislatures, but fails to meaningfully increase the level of democracy. 2. Bottom-Up Transitions Collective Action Theory Collective action theory focuses on forms of mass action or “collective action,” such as the protests in East Germany.  Strikes, elections, fraternities and sororities, and so forth.  Typically, collective action concerns the pursuit of “public goods” by groups of individuals. A public good has two characteristics:  Non-excludable: If the good is provided, everyone gets to enjoy it. Nobody can be excluded from it.  Non-rivalrous: If someone consumes the good, there is still just as much for everyone else to consume.  Certain incentives discourage individuals from using collective action to achieve their common interests.  Known as the “collective action problem” or “free-rider problem.”  Individuals have little incentive to contribute to the provision of a public good that will benefit all members of a group.  Group of N individuals.  If K people contribute, then the public good is provided, and all members benefit (they receive B).  If a group member contributes, then she pays a cost, C.  Because the public good provides more benefits than the cost of participating, we’ll assume that B > C. Two possible equilibria: Equilibrium 1: No one participates.  No one will want to participate because they will pay the cost of participating but the one- person rally will be a failure. Equilibrium 2: Exactly K people participate.  If exactly K people participate, all participants are critical to the rallies success, while none of the non-participants will want to participate, because the rally is successful without them.  For a pro-democracy rally to succeed, exactly K individuals must believe that they, and only they, are likely to participate.  This insight suggests that two factors in particular are crucial for determining the likely success of collective action:  The difference between K (number of people necessary for success) and N (number of people in the group who would benefit from the public good). Difference between K and N  If K < N, there is an incentive to free ride.  All know that their contribution may not be necessary. If enough people free ride, then the public good will not be obtained.  The larger the difference between K and N, the greater the incentive to free ride.  Forms of collective action such as protests, strikes, revolutions, lobbying, and so on are less likely to be successful when the number of group members required for success (K) is significantly smaller than the number of people who would benefit from the success (N). Size of N  The size of the group (N) influences the likelihood that you will think of yourself as critical to collective action.  Larger groups find it harder to overcome the collective action problem than small groups. Counterintuitive implications:  Suggests that small groups may be more powerful than large groups.  Challenges the common concern in democratic theory that the majority will tyrannize and exploit the minority. Tipping Models  Individuals naturally have different revolutionary thresholds.


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