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Illiberal Practices

'Illiberal Practices' cover image

Illiberal Practices

Territorial Variance within Large Federal Democracies

What drives the uneven distribution of democratic practices at the subnational level?

Within subunits of a democratic federation, lasting political practices that restrict choice, limit debate, and exclude or distort democratic participation have been analyzed in recent scholarship as subnational authoritarianism. Once a critical number of citizens or regions band together in these practices, they can leverage illiberal efforts at the federal level.

This timely, data-driven book compares federations that underwent transitions in the first, second, and third waves of democratization and offers a substantial expansion of the concept of subnational authoritarianism. The eleven expert political scientists featured in this text examine the nature and scope of subnational democratic variations within six large federations, including the United States, India, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and Russia. Illiberal Practices makes the case that subnational units are more likely to operate by means of illiberal structures and practices than as fully authoritarian regimes.

Detailed case studies examine uneven levels of citizenship in each federal system. These are distributed unequally across the different regions of the country and display semi-democratic or hybrid characteristics. Appropriate for scholars and students of democratization, authoritarianism, federalism, decentralization, and comparative politics, Illiberal Practices sheds light on the uneven extension of democracy within countries that have already democratized.

Contributors: Jacqueline Behrend, André Borges, Julián Durazo Herrmann, Carlos Gervasoni, Edward L. Gibson, Desmond King, Inga A.-L. Saikkonen, Celina Souza, Maya Tudor, Laurence Whitehead, Adam Ziegfeld