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  • Author: You Young Kim
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Council
  • Abstract: Hearing my grandfather state, "I'm forever grateful to Kim Il-sung," baffled me. His words of gratitude to the first supreme leader and the eternal president of North Korea did not match his heartbreaking tale of defecting to the South during the Korean War. Recalling his stories of hiding in the mountains and his relatives trapped in the isolated dictatorial communist state, I couldn't fathom being grateful for a man who pushed my grandfather to make such a difficult choice when he was only a few years older than I am now.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Eyal Rubinson
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: NATO Defense College
  • Abstract: What is the role that democracy and adherence to hu- man rights play in NATO enlargement decisions? Democratic conditionality, a strategy of setting clear benchmarks of liberal-democratic reforms as a pre- requisite for membership, has been a central theme in NATO history. Adherence to democracy and human rights was cited in the Washington Treaty of 1949, and more recently in the 1995 Study on NATO En- largement, the 1994 Framework Document of the “Partnership for Peace” programme, the 1999 Mem- bership Action Plan (MAP) and other fundamental texts. However, despite this repeated insistence on condi- tionality, many candidate states did not satisfactorily improve their records pre-accession, and are increas- ingly unable to meet the requirement of a function- ing democracy, according to internationally renowned indices.
  • Topic: NATO, Human Rights, Regional Cooperation, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Europe, North Atlantic, North America, Global Focus
  • Author: Amy Erica Smith, Emma Rosenberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the last decade, scholars have begun to elaborate the diverse ways religion manifests in democracies. We draw on theories related to modernization, secularism, and religious competition, as well as survey data from the Comparative National Elections Project, to explain individual-level and country-level variation in religious politicking—religious leaders’ and organizations’ engagement in electoral campaigns. At the country level, though human development depresses the rate at which citizens receive political messages from religious organizations and clergy, both secularism and religious pluralism boost it. At the individual level, “civilizational” differences across religious groups are muted and inconsistent. However, across the globe, citizens with higher levels of education are consistently more likely to receive political messages—an effect that is stronger where religious politicking is more common. A case study of Mozambique further confirms the insights obtained when we unpack modernization and secularization theories.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Politics, Religion, Developing World, Democracy, Citizenship, Human Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mozambique, Global Focus, Global South
  • Author: Andreas Schedler
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Since the invention of modern democracy, political theorists as well as practitioners have alerted us against the dangers of “majoritarian tyrannies,” whose substantive meaning, however, remains unclear and controversial. Many have also alerted us against the dangers of such alerts serving as rhetorical cover for antidemocratic elites. In this twin exercise of conceptual explication and reappraisal, I intend to both clarify the meaning and reevaluate the political role of the idea of majoritarian tyrannies. In the main part of the paper, I elucidate their internal structure and variance by discussing three logical presuppositions: (1) the performance of tyrannical acts, (2) the exclusive targeting of minorities, and (3) collective action by the majority. In the final part, I propose to revalue the concept as an instrument of horizontal accountability among citizens. Antipopulist rather than antidemocratic in nature, it allows the losers of majoritarian decisions to call their fellow citizens to account for the injustices they engender.
  • Topic: Human Rights, Culture, Democracy, Citizenship, Rule of Law
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jennifer R. Dresden, Thomas E. Flores, Irfan Nooruddin
  • Publication Date: 03-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: The notion that robust democracy and violent conflict are linked is commonplace. Many observers of international politics attribute violent conflict in contexts as diverse as Myanmar and Syria to failures of democracy. Conversely, most agree that continuing political violence undermines any effort to build strong democratic institutions in Libya or South Sudan. As a matter of policy, democratization has often been promoted not only as an end in itself but as a means toward building peace in societies scarred by violence. Development professionals tackle these challenges daily, confronting vicious cycles of political violence and weak democratic institutions. At the same time, scholars have dedicated intense scrutiny to these questions, often finding that the interrelationships between conflict and democracy belie easy categorization. This report, the third in a series on democratic theories of change, critically engages with this literature to ask three questions: Under what circumstances do democratic practice or movement toward democracy quell (or exacerbate) the risk of different kinds of violent conflict? Under what circumstances do the risk and experience of violent conflict undermine democratic practice? How can external interventions mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities inherent in transitions to democracy and peace? To answer these questions, a research team at George Mason University and Georgetown University spent eight months compiling, organizing, and evaluating the academic literature connecting democratic practice and violent conflict, which spans the fields of political science, economics, peace studies, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. This work was funded by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (the DRG Center), under the Institute of International Education’s (IIE’s) Democracy Fellows and Grants Program. Beginning in May 2018, the authors organized a team of three research assistants, who read and summarized more than 600 journal articles, books, reports, and newspaper articles. The resulting White Paper was the subject of an August 2018 workshop with representatives from USAID and an interdisciplinary group of eight scholars with expertise in conflict and democracy. Based on their feedback, the authors developed a new Theories of Change Matrix and White Paper in October 2018. This draft received further written feedback from USAID and another three scholars. The core team then revised the report again to produce this final draft. This report’s approach to the literature differs from past phases of the Theories of Democratic Change project. While past reports detailed the hypothesized causes of democratic backsliding (Phase I) and democratic transitions (Phase II), this report focuses on the reciprocal relationship between democratic practice and conflict. The report therefore organizes hypotheses into two questions and then sub-categories within each question.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Education, Democracy, Conflict, Political Science, USAID
  • Political Geography: Libya, Syria, North America, Myanmar, South Sudan, Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Emily S. Chen
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Pacific Forum
  • Abstract: With its economic success, China seems to convey to the world that democracy is not a prerequisite for prosperity and social well-being. This paper seeks to explore whether and how the rise of authoritarian China may affect the state of democracy worldwide. It argues that at least for now, China may not intend to challenge the global state of democracy by actively blocking the expansion of democracy or promoting authoritarianism. However, China’s growing global influence, along with its overseas activities in defending the Chinese Communist Party regime and seeking greater international status, have had a negative impact on liberal democracy.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy
  • Political Geography: China, Global Focus
  • Author: Davin O'Regan
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (CISSM)
  • Abstract: U.S. foreign policy increasingly embraces and seeks to empower civil society organizations in developing countries as a critical contributor to stability and security. This paper explores whether there are grounds for these claims, specifically whether variation in civil society can explain the onset of civil wars. It examines two common explanations for the conflict-preventative potential of civil society, namely its ability to increase social capital and citizens’ voice. Four hypotheses are tested by integrating new data on various attributes of civil society from the Varieties of Democracies Initiative into a common model of civil war onset. Little support is found for claims that civil society reduces the probability of civil war onset by improving social capital, but onset may be reduced when a strong advocacy and political orientation is present in civil society. In other words, there appears to be some grounds for U.S. policy claims that a stronger civil society can enhance citizens’ voice and reduce instability and conflict onset. This finding still raises many questions about the precise links between civil society and civil war onset, and introduces potential complications for how policymakers might address conflict onset through support for civil society.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Civil War, Democracy, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Simone Schotte
  • Publication Date: 06-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Beyond the hopes placed in Africa’s emergent middle class as an engine of economic growth, some analysts see this group as a bastion of political stability and enduring democratisation across the continent. This paper’s approach differs from that of most studies, which treat the middle class as a homogeneous group, through two key contributions. First, using cluster analysis, I propose a novel way of conceptualising social class that broadly draws on the Weberian idea of shared life chances. I apply this method to South Africa and identify five social classes characterised by their members’ living standards, overall life satisfaction, and self‐perceived upward mobility. Second, the empirical analysis reveals significant discrepancies in attitudes towards democracy between the downwardly and upwardly mobile strata of the middle class, which I term the “anxious” and the “climbers,” respectively. On the one hand, the “climbers” show the highest generic support for democracy as a form of government, whereas the “anxious” middle class displays feelings of resignation. On the other hand, I find indicative evidence of a status‐quo bias among the “climbers.” Rather than assuming a more demanding or critical stance in politics, they allow their political priorities to be at least partly shaped by an interest in securing and expanding attained living standards; being upwardly mobile is even associated with a higher tolerance for government attempts to constrain freedom of information, opinion, or expression.
  • Topic: International Affairs, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Mathew Singer
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Kellogg Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Theories of democratic legitimacy argue that people who believe that the government is well managed and that the government represents their interests are likely to defend the democratic status quo. Principal-agent theory predicts, however, that these same groups are also more likely to support the executive taking steps to restrict free speech or opposition rights via delegative democracy. Citizens who feel represented by an ideologically sympathetic and competent executive may be willing to delegate to him or her authority to restrict the opposition, even at the expense of civil rights. Survey data from eighteen Latin American countries from 2006 to 2012 are consistent with the principal-agent hypothesis; those who voted for the ruling party in the previous election or who perceive that the economy is strong are more likely to favor restrictions on civil rights for regime opponents. Political winners are particularly likely to display low levels of tolerance for expressions of opposition in polarized party systems. Thus, for democracy to prosper, it must not only satisfy the losers of political and economic processes but also find ways to encourage winners to exercise restraint.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jeffrey Conroy-Krutz, Erica Frantz
  • Publication Date: 12-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Institute of International Education
  • Abstract: Despite the global spread of democracy following the end of the Cold War, dictatorships still rule about one-third of the world’s countries. The persistence of authoritarian governments poses a challenge for the international community on a variety of fronts: dictatorships are more likely to repress their citizens, instigate wars, and perpetrate mass killing, among others. This challenge is even more pressing given the gradual decline in the number of democracies worldwide over the last decade. Practitioners confront critical questions about which strategies are likely to pave the way for democratization versus which are likely to stifle it. Through a research grant funded by USAID’s Center of Excellence on Democracy, Human Rights, and Governance (the DRG Center), under the Institute of International Education’s (IIE’s) Democracy Fellows and Grants Program, a research team from Michigan State University worked with the DRG Center to organize and evaluate the body of current academic scholarship that can contribute to understanding how and why countries move on paths from authoritarianism to democracy. The publication was informed and vetted in two peer review workshops by a group of democratization scholars from American University, Brown University, Columbia University, George Washington University, Harvard University, Pennsylvania State University, Rutgers University, and the University of Chicago. The publication begins by providing an overview of the concept of democratization and the difficulties of identifying and defining it. The theories related to democratization are offered in a simple theory matrix, allowing practitioners to quickly and easily: Survey the body of academic work dedicated to democratization through a succinct presentation of 34 theories organized within seven thematic theory families; Interpret the cause-and-effect relationships that academic research identifies through the presentation of brief hypotheses; Understand how scholars evaluate the strength and reliability of each hypothesis through a brief summary of the research team’s assessment of causal arguments and evidence; and Explore how each theory can support the assessment and design of development programs, through basic questions that offer guidance for how to determine the relevance of that theory’s specific cause-and-effect pathway to a particular context. Organizing the theories into seven thematic families enables a close comparison of related theories on democratization and clear distinctions to be drawn among them. The researchers note, however, where ideas overlap across these theory families.
  • Topic: Democratization, Political Economy, Politics, Culture, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Political Science, Institutions, USAID
  • Political Geography: North America, Global Focus, United States of America