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Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation

Paperback
, 504 pages
ISBN:
9780801851582
August 1996
$31.00

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Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation

Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe

Since their classic volume The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes was published in 1978, Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan have increasingly focused on the questions of how, in the modern world, nondemocratic regimes can be eroded and democratic regimes crafted. In Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, they break new ground in numerous areas. They reconceptualize the major types of modern nondemocratic regimes and point out for each type the available paths to democratic transition and the tasks of democratic consolidation. They argue that, although "nation-state" and "democracy" often have conflicting logics, multiple and complementary political identities are feasible under a common roof of state-guaranteed rights. They also illustrate how, without an effective state, there can be neither effective citizenship nor successful privatization. Further, they provide criteria and evidence for politicians and scholars alike to distinguish between democratic consolidation and pseudo-democratization, and they present conceptually driven survey data for the fourteen countries studied.

Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation contains the first systematic comparative analysis of the process of democratic consolidation in southern Europe and the southern cone of South America, and it is the first book to ground post-Communist Europe within the literature of comparative politics and democratic theory.

Juan J. Linz is Sterling Professor of Political and Social Science at Yale University. Alfred Stepan, the first rector and president of the Central European University, is Gladstone Professor of Government and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford University.

"An absolutely major work that represents probably the most significant contribution to the burgeoning literature on democratization over the past decade and the most ambitious effort to move the debate beyond the seminal work on transition, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Prospects for Democracy by Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead (1986), by considering the problem of democratization in light of the dramatic regime changes in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union."

"This is an important volume by two major scholars on a central topic—one of broad interest to people in comparative politics, to those interested in democracy, and to regional specialists on Southern Latin America and on Central and Eastern Europe. The book will unquestionably be a major contribution to the literature on constructing democratic governance."