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Thomas Carothers The End Of The Transition Paradigm Notes

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Thomas Carothers - The End of the Transition Paradigm

Events of the 1970s/80s/90s generated democratization theory, and its chief analytical tool: the democratic transition paradigm. Five assumptions: o 1 - any country moving away from dictatorial rule can be considered a country in transition toward democracy, and thus can be considered relative to the expectations of the transition paradigm o 2 - democratization unfolds in a set sequence of stages
 opening: democratic ferment and political liberalization in which cracks appear in the ruling dictatorial regime
 breakthrough - the collapse of the regime and the rapid emergence of a new, democratic system, with the coming to power of a new govt through national elections and the establishment of a democratic institutional struction e.g. through a new constitution
 consolidation - democratic forms are transformed into democratic substance through the reform of state institutions, the regularization of elections, the strengthening of civil society, and the overall habituation of the society to the new democratic 'rules of the game'
 all deviations from this path are understood in relation to the path itself, and not as independent or autonomous processes - notion of democratic teleology o 3 - belief in the determinative importance of elections
 tendency to believe that regular, genuine elections will grant legitimacy, broaden and deepen political participation and democratic accountability o 4 - the underlying economic, political, institutional, ethnic and cultural histories of countries will not be major factors in the onset or the outcome of the transition process
 this signified the end of culturally noxious assumptions about the virtues of Western societies in being able to democratise - a belief that dovetailed with US policies of propping up anticommunist dictators around the world
 but this was replaced by an overly optimistic, thin understanding of the constituent aspects of democracy in practice o 5 - the democratic transitions underway are being built on coherent, functioning states

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