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Transitions to Democracy; Democracy & Elections. Updates:. Do not forget (i) weekly contributions & (ii) final papers Also, updates & comments on final papers (later this week) As well as updates/changes in the topics + reading list Final & final papers due: Monday, January 22, 5 PM, Schuman.

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Transitions to democracy democracy elections l.jpg

Transitions to Democracy;Democracy & Elections

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  • Do not forget (i) weekly contributions & (ii) final papers

  • Also, updates & comments on final papers (later this week)

  • As well as updates/changes in the topics + reading list

  • Final & final papers due: Monday, January 22, 5 PM, Schuman

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Gender imbalance, selected countries (Wikipedia)

  • Male/female ratio (over 65):

  • Russia 0.46

  • Latvia 0.48

  • Ukraine 0.52

  • World 0.79 (birth: 1.06; 15-64: 1.03)

  • G7: 0.70–0.75 (birth: 1.05-1.07; 15-64: 1.00-1.04)

  • Kuwait 1.71 (birth: 1.04; 15-64: 1.77)

  • U Arab Emirates 2.73 (birth: 1.05; 15-64: 1.55)

  • Qatar 2.84 (birth: 1.05; 15-64: 2.24)

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i. Revolution

  • Radical, long-term reconstruction of the political, social and economic order

  • Examples: France, Russia, China (possibly U.S. and Iran)

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Revolution = three stages

State breakdown

Struggle for power

State reconstruction

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Theories of Revolution

  • Social & psychological explanations: individual- rather than societal-level explanation

  • Political-structural approach: what really matters are broad structural conditions

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Social & psychological theories

  • Relative vs. absolute deprivation

    Absolute deprivation →

    struggle for survival

  • Relative deprivation: when people feel they receive less than what they deserve

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Social-psychological theories: relevance

  • Perception more important than condition itself!


  • Relative deprivation: necessary, rather than sufficient condition

  • A theory of violence, rather than revolutions?

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Structural approach

  • What matters are structural conditions

  • Revolutions occur in a state

    • weak internationally and

    • ineffective domestically

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ii. “Third Wave”

  • Huntington: three democratic “waves”

  • 1820s-1920s: first, long wave

  • 1922: first “reverse wave”

  • WWII – 1962: second wave

  • 1960s – early 1970s: second “reverse wave”

  • 1974 – Third Wave (# of electoral democracies increased threefold since)

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“Third Wave”: why?

  • Causes: internal & external

  • Internal:

    • “performance legitimacy” problems

      (is lack of performance a bigger problem in a non-democratic regime than in a democratic one?)

    • economic growth

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External: International environment

* External actors (EU, Soviet Union, United States)

Eastern Europe: from Brezhnev Doctrine to “Sinatra Doctrine”

* Changing role/doctrine of Catholic Church: liberation theology

* “Snowballing”

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Democratic Transitions

* Liberalization: opening of an authoritarian regime (without becoming democratic)

*Democratic transition: moving from an authoritarian regime to a democratic one

Beginning: first signs of collapse or negotiating exit

End: first freely elected government takes office

*Democratic consolidation: democracy has become “the only game in town”

Huntington: the two-turnover test

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iii. Elections & Democracy (Lindberg)

  • Questions:

  • What is Lindberg’s major point?

  • Is it a theoretical point? Empirical? Both?

  • How does he go about “proving” it?

  • How convincing do you think he is?

  • If you are not persuaded, why is that the case? What would persuade you?

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Comments/reactions to Lindberg I:

“[Lindberg] argued that elections are in and of themselves largely insignificant to democratization.”

Lindberg, first paragraph:

“In 2002, Thomas Carothers […] argued that elections are in and of themselves largely insignificant to democratization.”

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Comments/reactions to Lindberg II:

“The holding of elections is an indicator of democratization.”

“The center statement of this text is that holding of elections is an indicator of democratization.”

Lindberg, second paragraph:

“This begs the question: Is there a value inherent in the holding of elections, or is the holding of elections merely an indicator of democratization? I believe that the former is the case.”

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African elections: significance?

  • Challenge the mainstream scholarly view of elections

  • (Why Africa?)

  • An empirical test: elections → democracy

  • How do elections promote democracy?




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Elections & Democracy

 Positive view: elections = hallmark of democracy

 Skeptical view: little value for democracy

Elections – in and of themselves insignificant for democracy

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Lindberg’s argument

Elections are not just a mere indicator of democracy

There is an inherent value in holding elections:

Elections → Democracy

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More elections → More democracy

“Measure” for democracy:

e.g., Freedom House scores:

Democracy = Political Rights + Civil Liberties

Is this measure tautological?

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Freedom House’s Political Rights checklist

A. Electoral Process:

1. Head of state and/or head of government elected through free and fair elections?

2. Legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections?

Yes, the measure is tautological

Avoiding tautology:

Democracy ≈ Civil Liberties

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Freedom House’s Civil Liberties checklist:

  • Freedom of Expression and Belief

    (e.g., free & independent media and other forms of cultural expression)

  • Associational and Organizational Rights

    (e.g., freedom of assembly, demonstration, and open public discussion )

  • Rule of Law

    (e.g., an independent judiciary)

  • Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights

    (e.g., gender equality)

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How do elections promote democracy?

1) “Citizens become voters”

2) “Democratic lock-in mechanisms”

3) “Self-fulfilling prophecies”

4) “Civic Organizations”

5) “New roles for state institutions”

6) “Media”

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iv. Final paper

  • 10-20 pages long (excluding notes, bibliography, tables, figures, appendices)

  • Double-spaced, Times New Roman 12

  • Highly recommended:

    King, “Battling the Six Evil Geniuses of Essay Writing”

    [McCubbins, “Guide to Writing a Scientific Paper”]

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Criteria for evaluation

  • Clear thesis

  • Quality of argumentation

  • Quality of writing

  • Logical consistency

  • Argument ↔ Evidence (connection)

  • Only relevant arguments and information & evidence included

  • Make good use of relevant literature

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Economic development ↔ Democracy

  • Is there a relationship between development and democracy?

  • If so, why is that the case, and what is the nature of this relationship?

  • Causal (endogenous):

    Economic development → Democracy

    b) Exogenous (ED sustains democracy, but does not make a country democratic)