Spanish Politics and Society
Hispanic & European Studies Program
Fall 2009
Raimundo Viejo Viñas
Office 20.182
www.raimundoviejo.info
[email protected]
Democratization
Theoretical approaches
Democratization
 What is Democracy?
 Democracy is a particular type of political regime
 Democracy is not a state of things, something fixed
 Democracy is a dynamic way of taking decisions
that entails three different dimensions:
 Participation
 Deliberation
 Decision
Democratization
 Democratization is the becoming Democracy of
a political regime. It is an endless, constituent
process. Democracy can advance or recede,
but can not remain static.
 One hundred years ago there were only a few
democracies in the world. But today
Democracy is considered the best (or the “least
bad”) form of government.
 Even autocracies present themselves as
“democracies” (Cuba, for example, is defined as a
“popular democracy”)
Democratization
 There are three basic ways to explain
democratization:
 Modernization or development theory
 Institutionalist approaches
 “Contentious politics” research program
Democratization
 According to Modernization theory, democratization is
the result of a certain degree of socioeconomic
development.
 Some exceptions challenge Modernization theory
 India, for example, is an poor but democratic country
 Saudi Arabia is a rich but un democratic country
 We cannot expect democratization from a certain
degree of socioeconomic development. Modernization
can help democratization, but it is not enough.
Democratization
 In opposition to Modernization Theory
Institutionalist Approaches focus on political
actors, most notably in the political elites and
their pacts
 Institutionalist Approaches, however, tend to
forget the role of the masses in
democratization processes:
 The breakdown of German Democratic Republic, for
example, was not the result of an elite pact, but the
combination of mass demonstrations and mass
escape
Democratization
 “Contentious politics” research program see
democratization as a result of political conflict
and mass dynamics, not as a merely elite pact
 Elitist democratization can be easily reversed.
Democratic consolidation need mass
acceptance of democratic rule
 According to Charles Tilly: Democracy requires
a “broad, equal, protected and mutually
binding consultation”. There is no Democracy
without people’s consent.
Democratization
 Democratization entails three
different processes:
 Liberalization
 Transition
 Consolidation
Democratization
 liberalization refers to a relaxation of previous
government restrictions, usually in areas of social or
economic policy.

Liberalization of autocratic regimes may precede
democratization (as in the case of Spain) or not (as in
the case of the Prague Spring of 1968)
 Transition is a change in a political regime that
adopts a new, substantially different form of
government
 Consolidation is the process by which a new democracy
matures, in a way that means it is unlikely to revert into an
autocratic regime.
Democratization
 Transition to democracy entails two
different processes:
 Instauration
 Institutionalization
Democratization
 Instauration is the act of starting something
for the first time. The approval or the sanction
of a Constitution can be an example for the
instauration of a political regime
 Institutionalization is the creation or
organisation of governmental institutions or
particular bodies responsible for overseeing or
implementing policy
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Spanish Politics and Society