Democratization is a major political phenomenon of the age and has been the focus of a burgeoning political science literature. This book considers democratization across a range of disciplines, from anthropology and economics, to sociology, law and area studies. The construction of democratization as a unit of study reflects the intellectual standpoint of the inquirer. The book highlights the use of normative argument to legitimize the exercise of power. From the 1950s to the 1980s, economic success enabled the authoritarian governments of South Korea and Taiwan to achieve a large measure of popular support despite the absence of democracy. The book outlines what a feminist framework might be and analyses feminist engagements with the theory and practice of democratization. It also shows how historians have contributed to the understanding of the processes of democratization. International Political Economy (IPE) has always had the potential to cut across the levels-of-analysis distinction. A legal perspective on democratization is presented by focusing on a tightly linked set of issues straddling the border between political and judicial power as they have arisen. Classic and contemporary sociological approaches to understanding democracy and democratization are highlighted, with particular attention being accorded to the post-1989 period. The book displays particularities within a common concern for institutional structures and their performance, ranging over the representation of women, electoral systems and constitutions (in Africa) and presidentialism (in Latin America). Both Europe and North America present in their different ways a kind of bridge between domestic and international dimensions of democratization.
Democratisation studies greatly profits from expanding its disciplinary and geographical constraints. This chapter amplifies such sentiments, presenting reasons as to why the students of politics should reject parochialism in their attempts to understand democratization. The fruitfulness of applying several disciplines to the analysis of politics varies across different kinds of political phenomena. Like the study of politics, the other disciplines too are dynamic, and their approaches can even vary according to distinct national, cultural and educational or professional institutional traditions. There are differences of time, place and circumstance that impact on the way political phenomena, including democracy, is viewed. Political scientists studying democratization appear much taken with the idea of judicial autonomy as a part of the institutional architecture for ensuring the horizontal accountability of the executive. This chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book.
This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts discussed in the preceding chapters of this book. The book shows how people's knowledge and understanding of democratization are enriched by studying through the lens of multidisciplinarity and from a broadly-based comparative analysis. It takes the form of authentic accounts by specialists of what their own subject brings to the study of democratization. The book also addresses a number of key questions in respect of different countries' discipline or region of special interest. It then addresses these prompts each in their own way. In doing so, they reveal not just the issues for which their discipline or area studies demand priority but also their own insights and answers. Furthermore, the book details a variety of types of social grouping, including especially social movements, but not necessarily political parties, as being in the vanguard pressing for change.