Democratization through the looking-glass

Democratization through the looking-glass

Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Democratization through the looking-glass
    Book Description:

    This book argues that our perspectives on democratization reflect the intellectual origins of the inquiry. A range of disciplines from anthropology to economics, sociology and legal scholarship, as well as different area studies, offer a rich combination of analytical frameworks, distinctive insights and leading points of concern.

    eISBN: 978-1-84779-069-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of tables
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. List of contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
    • 2 Anthropology
      (pp. 23-40)

      There is no self-evident consensus on what constitutes genuine anthropology. For some, anthropology is defined by its fieldwork-based methodology; for others, it is its non-reductionist commitment to fleshing out complex causalities from the empirical foliage of thick description. For others still, anthropology is simply a general social science of non-Western societies.

      This writer’s understanding of the anthropological enterprise revolves around the need for a self-reflective perspective on the nature and use of normative discourse in social interaction. My empirical work highlights the use of normative argument to legitimize the exercise of power. The focus on normative discourse highlights the realm...

    • 3 Economics
      (pp. 41-55)

      The quotation that starts this chapter expresses a sentiment that was common currency in the early days of development economics, but is heard less often nowadays. From the 1940s to the 1960s it seemed to many observers that living standards could be raised irrespective of whether a country was democratic or not. Indeed, some technocrats maintained that democratic debate could only hinder the implementation of their carefully crafted development plans. And aid donors were largely amenable to single-party rule in newly independent states, especially when it seemed to meet their own strategic or commercial interests. India was the big exception...

    • 4 Gender Studies
      (pp. 56-69)

      In order to explore feminist perspectives on democratization we need to understand both feminist frameworks and methodologies. This chapter outlines what a feminist framework might be and then uses this perspective to analyse feminist engagements with the theory and practice of democratization.

      Democratization can be defined as the process of ‘making democratic’ regimes, practices and discourses of public power. Luckham and White (1996b: 2–8) have identified four areas of inquiry for democratization analysts: (1) the nature of the particular institutional form of democracy; (2) causes and contexts of democratization; (3) prospects for the sustainability and deepening of democracy and...

    • 5 History
      (pp. 70-83)

      The main purpose of this chapter is to show how historians have contributed to our understanding of the processes of democratization. In the course of this the main focus will be on the different views historians have taken of alternative paths to democracy and particularly its early stages – the so-called ‘first wave’ (see Huntington 1991). To do this, however, we have first to take into account the ways in which different historians have approached the writing of history.

      Democratization here is taken to be a process by which popular participation is enhanced. It is not confined to periods of passage...

    • 6 International Political Economy
      (pp. 84-99)

      International Political Economy (IPE) had already achieved prominence as a field of study by the start of the 21st century, but its role has changed dramatically, with issues of democratic governance and policy-making moving to the forefront. Originally, however, the roots of IPE lay in economic aspects of relations among nation-states in the international system – foreign economic policy, trade, the spread of production systems and firms across borders, and the international monetary system, as well as a range of international economic institutions and regimes and the interaction between domestic and international policy issues – but not with domestic politics within states....

    • 7 Law
      (pp. 100-114)

      This chapter offers a legal perspective on democratization by focusing on a tightly linked set of issues straddling the border between political and judicial power as they have arisen in, first, the United Kingdom, second, Britain’s relationship with the European Union, and third, the wider international system. The discussion illustrates the claim that no analysis of democratization can be complete without taking into account the dimension of judicial power and its implications for democratic accountability even, perhaps especially, in countries considered as exemplars for new and emerging democracies. The development of strategies under the umbrella of legal technical assistance that...

    • 8 Sociology
      (pp. 115-134)

      In his classic work onThe Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills argued that it ‘enables the possessor to understand the historical scene in terms of its meaning for the inner life and external career of individuals’ (Mills 1959: 5). In other words, sociology seeks to explain the experience and life chances of the individual in terms of the wider historical and institutional context. Sociological accounts of the nature of democracy and democratization are thus less concerned with the formal constitution of governmental structures than with the effect they might have on the individuals that constitute society in terms of promoting...

  6. Part II AREAS
    • 9 Africa
      (pp. 137-152)

      It remains fashionable to refer to the contemporary impetus for democracy in Africa as the ‘second wave of independence’ or as a major aspect of ‘African renaissance’. Such terms embody two major meanings: the disastrous failure of democratization efforts following political independence in the 1960s; and the umbilical relationship between social and economic development and democratization, if the latter is ever to take root in an Africa that is mired in poverty. The view that Africa is ‘trying again’ points not only to how a paradigm of democratization has assumed primacy in analysis of the continent’s condition since the early...

    • 10 Central and eastern Europe
      (pp. 153-168)

      The passage of over ten years since the first fully competitive elections should have succeeded in putting the progress of democratization in post-communist Europe into clear perspective. By now we might expect to have a reasonably firm comprehension of how far democratization has proceeded, why – if its achievements are differentiated – it has gone further in some countries than others, and which events and processes have driven democratic change. The looking-glass of democratization studies should in this sense have been ground sufficiently finely to develop a clear image of developments in the area and uncover their main dynamics. One might also...

    • 11 East Asia
      (pp. 169-187)

      The task of writing about democratization in East Asia as a whole is a hugely problematic one. It is a region that contains massive diversity in political and economic systems and one that remains in a state of considerable flux and transition. A key element in this transition is the end of the Cold War, and the resulting reduction in US tolerance of authoritarianism so long as that authoritarianism was overtly anti-communist. It is also a region where, as in East and Central Europe, communist party states are struggling with the transition from centrally planned socialist economies – though, by contrast...

    • 12 The European Union
      (pp. 188-200)

      Democratization has suddenly become a fashionable theme in both the practice and the study of European integration.¹ Since the Treaty on European Union (TEU) of 1991, which both raised the profile of the integration process and substantially extended the scope of powers enjoyed by the European Union (EU; the Union), the Union has become far more controversial. Received wisdom dictates that it suffers from a (generally unspecified) ‘democratic deficit’, which was scarcely noticed beforehand. Paradoxically, however, in the last decade several attempts to render the EU more democratic have actually been made, a good example being the significant empowerment of...

    • 13 Latin America
      (pp. 201-215)

      It is possible to argue that Latin America is no more than a geographical expression, and that, rather than trying to generalize across a range of different countries, we need to focus on the history of the individual republics. Certainly there are significant differences within the region, and path dependency is a factor in determining particular political outcomes. However, there are important similarities within the region as well. All Latin American political systems are presidential. No Latin American country has achieved a genuine ‘first world’ standard of living. Social inequality within the region is very high. Despite widespread poverty, most...

    • 14 South Asia
      (pp. 216-230)

      In the theorization and general discussion of democratization South Asia occupies a distinctive space. The region, comprising India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives, is home to 1.4 billion people (almost 22 per cent of the world’s population), of whom around 550 million live below the poverty line. As recent events have demonstrated, in the popular imagination South Asia is commonly characterized as suffering from chronic political instability, protracted ethnic conflicts and the everpresent threat of nuclear war. But South Asia also boasts some of the oldest democracies in the developing world. India remains – despite its many...

    • 15 The United States
      (pp. 231-246)

      Any discussion of the United States’ political democratization is fundamentally complicated by its role since 1917 as a global model and defender of liberal democracy, a role that burgeoned after 1941. As a consequence of this responsibility, historically the United States’ democratization has been both a domestic and international process. National and international politics have presented two trajectories that cohere into a common narrative of democratization (King 2004). This narrative is a continuing one.

      Domestically, the hundred years after the Civil War (1861–65) were characterized by a gradual abandonment of narrow assimilationism and the enactment – in the 1960s – of...

    • 16 Conclusion
      (pp. 247-256)

      The authors of this book were invited to address a number of key questions in respect of their discipline or region of special interest, such as: What does it most have to offer a critical understanding of democratization? In respect of the disciplines, how is democratization understood and what conceptual lenses are used to interrogate the subject? In regard to the regions, what does democratization mean to the inhabitants, what has been their experience, the main constraints or limitations and future prospects? The chapters address these prompts each in their own way. In doing so they reveal not just the...

  7. References
    (pp. 257-274)
  8. Index
    (pp. 275-283)