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Roberto Farneti

The literature on democratization uses measures of either ethnic fractionalization or polarization in empirical analyses on the causes of democratic regress; some authors have argued that either of the two complicates democratization. This article detects a conceptual puzzle in this use of the two concepts: when we shift the attention from fractionalization to polarization we are not simply moving along a continuum but rather making an epistemic leap from facts to normative problems. But to treat the relation between a descriptive account of a state of affairs and a normative status as a continuum is a fallacy that remains unaddressed in this literature. This article exposes the limits of analyses that remove normative considerations from the big picture of dynamics of democratization and that narrow their focus to case histories of democratic development. It pleas for a return to normative insight and interdisciplinary dialogue.

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Civil Societies and Democratization

Assumptions, Dilemmas and the South African Experience

Lorenzo Fioramonti

During the past 20 years, the term ‘civil society’ has acquired a specific space within political and social discourse. Journalists have written extensively about this term, political leaders have employed it ever more frequently, and scholarly research has been equally fascinated by the idea of civil society. Paradoxically, the notion of civil society constructed its space within socio-political research as it remained largely unexamined, especially in its relation to democracy and democratization theory. Indeed, most academic literature on democratization has assumed the democratizing power of civil society, based largely on the wake of events occurring in Eastern Europe and some parts of Africa during the late 1980s and early 1990s, rather than on firmly-grounded empirical research.

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Democratization of Perpetration

Human Rights, Transitional Justice, and Memories of Resistance in Post-Conflict Timor-Leste

Amy Rothschild

This article examines the effects of human rights and transitional justice on memories of Timor-Leste’s resistance to the Indonesian occupation, which lasted from 1975 to 1999. Data comes from ethnographic fieldwork in Timor, centered around remembrance of two major acts of resistance: an armed uprising in 1983 and a peaceful demonstration in 1991. The article argues that in Timor, an “apolitical” human rights has caused a post-conflict “democratization of perpetration”, in that similar culpability is assigned to all those who caused suffering in the conflict with Indonesia through physical violence, irrespective of context. Transitional justice has thus expanded the category of perpetrator in Timor, to include some who legally used armed resistance against Indonesian rule. Studies of violence have belatedly turned toward examining perpetrators of state terror; this article examines how discourses of human rights and transitional justice shape perceptions of those who resist state terror with violence.

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Participation without Deliberation

The Crisis of Venezuelan Democracy

Nicole Curato

The legacy of Hugo Chavez is contentious. Some lament the deterioration of Venezuelan democracy from one of Latin America's most stable political systems to a populist authoritarian regime. Others celebrate Chavez's participatory project of institutionalizing structures for community-driven development, redistributing oil wealth through welfare policies, and creating a political party closely linked to mass movements. This article provides an alternative assessment of Venezuela's democratic quality by drawing on deliberative democratic theory. I argue that Chavez's participatory project is incomplete because it fails to create structures for deliberative politics. Without these mechanisms, Venezuela remains vulnerable to crises brought about by “uncivil action,” such as military coups and violent protests, making deliberation an important component in averting crises in democratizing polities.

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Andrew Fiala

What has come to be known as ‘the Bush Doctrine’ is an idealistic approach to international relations that imagines a world transformed by the promise of democracy and that sees military force as an appropriate means to utilize in pursuit of this goal. The Bush Doctrine has been described in various ways. It has been called ‘democratic realism,’ ‘national security liberalism,’ ‘democratic globalism,’ and ‘messianic universalism’.1 Another common claim is that this view is ‘neoconservative’.2 In what follows I will employ the term ‘neoconservative’ as a convenient and commonly accepted name for the ideas that underlie the Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine has been expressed in numerous speeches by President Bush and members of his administration.3 It is stated in the policy of the National Security Strategy of the United States.4 And it was employed in the invasion of Iraq. The hopeful aspiration of the Bush Doctrine is that democratization will result in peace.

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Robin Rodd

Amidst a global turn towards authoritarianism and populism, there are few contemporary examples of state-led democratization. This article discusses how Uruguay’s Frente Amplio (FA) party has drawn on a unique national democratic cultural heritage to encourage a coupling of participatory and representative institutions in “a politics of closeness.” The FA has reinvigorated Batllismo, a discourse associated with social justice, civic republicanism, and the rise of Uruguayan social democracy in the early twentieth century. At the same time, the FA’s emphasis on egalitarian participation is inspired by the thought of Uruguay’s independence hero José Artigas. I argue that the cross-weave of party and movement, and of democratic citizenship and national heritage, encourages the emergence of new figures of the citizen and new permutations for connecting citizens with representative institutions. The FA’s “politics of closeness” is an example of how state-driven democratization remains possible in an age described by some as “post-democratic.”

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Christophe Charle

Thanks to a comparison of social and educational characteristics of elites in France, Germany and UK at the end of the nineteenth century, this contribution shows the specificities of the French case: a mixture of persistent traditional elites, akin to British and German ones, and the growing domination of a more recent economic and meritocratic bourgeoisie pushing for liberalism and democracy. Nevertheless, evolutions in the same direction as France are also perceptible in the two monarchies and give birth to a new divergence when after WWI the democratization of elites go faster in UK and Germany than in France where the law bourgeoisie remain dominant and blocks the reforms asked by more popular or petit bourgeois groups present in the political parties on the left.

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Socialisms in the Tsarist Borderlands

Poland and Finland in a Contrastive Comparison, 1830–1907

Wiktor Marzec and Risto Turunen

This article presents a conceptual history of socialism in two Western borderlands of the Russian Empire—namely, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland. A contrastive comparison is used to examine the birth, dissemination, and breakthrough of the concept from its first appearance until the Revolution of 1905. The concept entered Polish political conversation as a self-applied label among émigrés in the 1830s, whereas the opponents of socialism made it famous in Finland in the 1840s in Swedish and in the 1860s in Finnish. When socialism became a mass movement at the turn of the century, socialist parties (re)defined the concept through underground leaflets and brochures in Poland, and through a legal labor press in Finland. In both cases, the Revolution of 1905 meant the final democratization of socialism, attaching more meanings to the concept and making it the most discussed ism of modern politics.

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Avery Poole

Why has “democracy” become a standard reference in the statements and declarations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)? Discussion about domestic governance and regime types in member states has traditionally been considered off-limits in official ASEAN dialogue. Membership does not require democratic rule, and there are no grounds for suspension or expulsion of a member state due to domestic political circumstances (such as an unconstitutional change of government). Further, the norm of non-interference means that the (politically diverse) member states have traditionally refrained from criticizing each other’s internal affairs. As such, it is puzzling that ASEAN commonly refers to the importance of “strengthening” and “promoting” democracy. The article argues that we should not overlook the diversity of views about democracy within ASEAN. Member states have mostly avoided discussion about how (strengthening and promoting) democracy is defined in ASEAN, because it is a sensitive matter. The article also engages in a critical analysis of the way in which a “democratization narrative” shapes many perspectives on democracy in ASEAN.

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Ofer Kenig

The selection methods of party leaders in Israel have gone through a gradual shift during the last 30 years. Like parties in several other democracies (Canada, United Kingdom, Japan), the major Israeli parties have changed their internal distribution of power to give their members a role in candidate and leadership selection. In Israel, as elsewhere, among the reasons for this reform was the desire to reduce the oligarchic tendencies of parties by creating a participatory revolution and by providing the rank-and-file members a chance to make a difference. This study maps the various methods used by Israeli parties for selecting their leaders and asks what the positive and negative consequences of the opening of the selection process are. The first section presents the various methods used by parties for selecting their leaders. The following three sections deal with the gradual process of democratization in leadership selection that occurred in the two major Israeli parties, and in other parties. The final section discusses the consequences of this democratization and tries to assess whether there is an ideal method for selecting party leaders.