Fragile Democracies: The Legacies of Authoritarian Rule

Fragile Democracies: The Legacies of Authoritarian Rule

Fragile Democracies: The Legacies of Authoritarian Rule

Fragile Democracies: The Legacies of Authoritarian Rule

Synopsis

Examining the Marcos and Aquino administrations in the Philippines, and a number of cases in Latin Amarica, Casper discusses the legacies of authoritarianism and shows how difficult it is for popularly elected leaders to ensure that democracy will flourish. Authoritarian regimes leave an imprint on society long after their leaders have been overthrown because they transform or destroy the social institutions on which a successful democracy depends. Casper concludes that redemocratization is problematic, even in countries with strong democratic traditions.

Excerpt

In the 1970s, governments in the Philippines and Latin America were led by authoritarian leaders. By the early 1990s, most of these countries had shifted to democracy. in the mid 1990s, observers are concluding that redemocratization is the future, returning to the optimistic analyses of the 1950s and 1960s, when modernization theory held that democracy would spread throughout the Third World. Just as scholars were surprised by the imposition of authoritarian regimes in many countries in the 1970s, I argue in this book that a focus on redemocratization in the 1990s understates the problems inherent in the transition from authoritarianism.

This book discusses the legacies of authoritarianism and how difficult it is for well-meaning new leaders to ensure that the new democracy will flourish. Even in countries with a strong democratic tradition, such as the Philippines, evidence presented here demonstrates that redemocratization remains problematic at best. Authoritarian regimes leave an imprint on society long after their leaders have been overthrown because they systematically seek to alter the traditional roles of important social institutions. By forcing groups such as the church and the military to play an active political role, the authoritarian regime inadvertently guarantees that these and other institutions will continue to intervene . . .

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