Processes of Democratization
What conditions are conducive to the formation of a political democracy? The first two sections of this chapter introduce the debate about the effects of general economic, social, and other conditions on the rise of democracy. Some conditions favor democracy more than others, but it will be argued that for a full understanding one must study the interplay between these conditions, on the one hand, and the choices made by political actors, on the other.
And why have such a large number of countries begun the transition toward democracy in recent years? A model of the process of democratization will be introduced that demonstrates that the movement from authoritarian to democratic rule is a complex, long-term process involving different phases; the current transitions are only in the beginning of this process. The bulk of this chapter is devoted to the formulation of four propositions, each of which spells out an important characteristic of the current transitions. The propositions serve to substantiate the dilemma identified in the introduction: Democracy has made progress in terms of democratic openings, but it has progressed in a way that does not bode well for further democratic consolidation. The result may just as easily be a democratic deadlock in which frail and unconsolidated democracies fail to meet the hopes and promises invested in them by the majorities of the populations.
What pattern of economic, social, cultural, and other conditions is most favorable to the rise of democracy? It was noted in Chapter 1 that the spread of democracy is a relatively recent phenomenon. The implication seems to be that it takes the conditions brought about by modern, indus