Transition from Democracy: Loss of Quality, Hybridisation and Breakdown of Democracy

April 11, 2011, 9 p.m.

Gero Erdmann addresses the lack of research on the reversal of democracy in the GIGA working paper Transition from Democracy. Loss of Quality, Hybridisation and Breakdown of Democracy .  Erdmann begins by presenting the research problem and the various literature that deals with it.  He then proceeds to give case-oriented approaches while also presenting the international dimension.  The abstract of the paper is found below.

The paper points out that there is hardly any research for the reverse transition, the transition from democracy to nondemocratic regimes for more than 30 years. For heuristical purposes, it provides basic data of the decline of democracy, which refers to loss of democratic quality, changes from liberal democracy to hybrid and to authoritarian regimes, during the third wave of democratisation (19742008). The stocktaking shows that most of the cases of decline refer to the change in and from young democracies established during the third wave, especially after 1989. Loss of democratic quality and hybridization are the most frequent cases of decline, while the breakdown of democracy has been very rare. Young democracies and poorer countries are more prone to decline than the older and richer cases – aside from a few remarkable exceptions. Finally, the overview argues that the research on the decline of democracy can benefit from the richness of the approaches of transitology, but should also avoid its methodological traps and failures, concluding with a number of suggestions for the future research agenda.

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