Journal of Democracy

Journal of Democracy
Volume 15, Number 4, October 2004

CONTENTS

    Valenzuela, Arturo, 1944-
  • Latin American Presidencies Interrupted
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Latin America -- Politics and government.
    • Civil-military relations -- Latin America.
    • Democracy -- Latin America.
    Abstract:
      Over the last two decades, Latin America has seen thirteen presidents leave office prematurely: Raúl Alfonsín (Argentina); Jean-Bertrand Aristide (Haiti); Joaquín Balaguer (Dominican Republic); Abdalá Bucaram (Ecuador); Fernando Collor de Mello (Brazil); Raúl Cubas (Paraguay); Alberto Fujimori (Peru); Jamil Mahuad (Ecuador); Carlos Andrés Pérez (Venezuela); Fernando de la Rúa (Argentina); Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada (Bolivia); Jorge Serrano (Guatemala); and Hernán Siles Zuazo (Bolivia). This group has suffered the indignity of early removal through impeachment or forced resignation, sometimes under circumstances of instability that have threatened constitutional democracy itself—as in the case of military coups. While Latin Americans still broadly support democracy and prefer it to dictatorship, they are increasingly dissatisfied with the performance of their democratic governments. It is time to consider changing constitutional designs that promote conflict rather than more consensual ways of doing politics.

The Quality of Democracy

    Diamond, Larry Jay.
    Morlino, Leonardo, 1947-
  • An Overview
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Democracy -- Social aspects.
    Abstracts:
      As democracy has spread to a majority of the world's states over the past three decades, many scholars, politicians, activists, and aid administrators have gone from asking why transitions happen to asking what the new regimes are like. This new approach focuses on what makes a democracy "good" or "better," and on how improvements can not only be measured, but encouraged. While there is no absolutely objective way of laying out a single framework for gauging democratic quality, there are eight dimensions on which democracies vary in quality: freedom, the rule of law, vertical accountability, responsiveness, equality, participation, competition, and horizontal accountability. These dimensions are closely linked and tend to move together, either toward democratic improvement and deepening or toward decay.
    O'Donnell, Guillermo A.
  • Why the Rule of Law Matters
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Democracy.
    • Rule of law.
    Abstracts:
      High-quality democracy requires a truly democratic rule of law that ensures political rights, civil liberties, and mechanisms of accountability which in turn affirm the political equality of all citizens and constrain potential abuses of state power. How may the democratic rule of law (état de droit, estado democrático de derecho, Rechsstaat) be conceptualized and, insofar as possible, empirically gauged? By exploring a set of variables within the rule of law we can understand what makes it effective and how it relates to other aspects of the performance of democratic countries. This essay focuses on contemporary Latin America (especially Argentina and Brazil) where national-level democratic regimes often effectively coexist with undemocratic sub-national regimes—so-called "brown areas."
    Schmitter, Philippe C.
  • The Ambiguous Virtues of Accountability
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Democracy.
    • Responsibility -- Political aspects.
    Abstracts:
      In the last ten years there has been a veritable explosion of scholarly concern with the notion of political accountability. Predictably, once a concept has been identified and accorded sufficient theoretical or practical priority, analysts focus more critical attention upon its meaning(s) and begin to try to measure it empirically. In this paper, I first try to elaborate the intrinsically ambiguous, not to say contradictory, elements that are contained within the concept of accountability. Then, I make a few suggestions about measuring it in the broader context of assessing the quality of democracy. Obviously, this entails the (disputable) hypothesis that the more politically accountable that rulers are to citizens, the higher will be the quality (or, better, the qualities) of democracy. It also follows that the better that representatives/politicians are at their ambiguous role in intermediating between citizens and rulers, the higher will be the qualities of democracy.
    Beetham, David.
  • Freedom as the Foundation
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Democracy.
    • Liberty.
    Abstracts:
      The paper begins by exploring the conceptual links between freedom, rights and democracy, and the institutional arrangements necessary to guarantee civil and political rights and fundamental freedoms in a democracy. It then sets out a procedure for assessing the quality of a country's democracy in four successive steps: defining the appropriate democratic 'goods'; identifying standards of best practice as a benchmark for the attainment of each of these 'goods'; analyzing the typical modes of subversion which may prevent their attainment; and exploring possible agencies of protection against these subversions. After applying each of these steps to the subject of civil and political rights, the paper concludes with a reservation about the limits of purely institutional indicators.
    Rueschemeyer, Dietrich.
  • Addressing Inequality
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Democracy.
    • Equality.
    Abstracts:
      As part of the project to examine the quality of existing democracies, this paper examines political in/equality. Political equality must be analyzed in relation to the main dimensions of social inequality — class, status and power. The paper considers the normative merits as well as the chances of advancing political equality, focusing first on measures within the political sphere and then on policies that tackle social and economic inequality. It reviews the power resources in economy and society that are most important for increases or decreases of political inequality. And it considers how the levels of political inequality can be assessed in cross-national comparisons.
    Powell, G. Bingham.
  • The Chain of Responsiveness
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Representative government and representation.
    • Responsibility -- Political aspects.
    Abstracts:
      "Democratic responsiveness" occurs when the democratic process induces the government to form and implement policies that the citizens want. The linkages that connect citizens' preferences, electoral choices, selecting policymakers and policymaking can be subverted at each stage. There are also serious conceptual difficulties created by the complexity of citizen preferences and by uncontrollable factors that shape policy outcomes. The subversions include control over information, incoherence of party policy discourse, unrepresentative election outcomes, officials switching parties after elections, use of executive decrees, bait and switch campaign tactics, and corruption in policymaking. I offer some suggestions about the measurement of democratic responsiveness.
    Plattner, Marc F., 1945-
  • A Skeptical Afterword
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Democracy.
    • Responsibility -- Political aspects.
    Abstracts:
      Noble and sensible motives have led political scientists to begin to focus on the quality of democracy, but this area of study raises questions that lead to the deepest regions of political philosophy and are not easily resolvable within the boundaries of empirical political science. Studies of the quality of democracy face two principal complications: First, modern democracy has a composite nature, and its liberal and majoritarian aspects are frequently in conflict with each other. Second, democracy is a form of government, and maximizing democracy may be in tension with effective governance. On the practical level, there is a danger that assessments of the quality of democracy may be distorted by the political biases of the assessors.
    Rogers, Steven.
  • Philippine Politics and the Rule of Law
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Democracy -- Philippines.
    • Rule of law -- Philippines.
    • Philippines -- Politics and government -- 1986-
    Abstracts:
      Despite a long tradition of democratic government and serious efforts at market-oriented economic reform, the Philippines remains plagued by poverty, corruption, crime, insurgency. This stagnant situation is perpetuated by the traditional exemption of the ruling class from the rule of law, which has excluded the unresponsive and inefficient governing elite from the electoral and economic competition that could force meaningful reform. The persistent inability of Philippine Governments to bring the elite within the rule of law is a pervasive obstacle to progress that can only be removed by focused, sustained political pressure from the Filipino people.

Debate

    Ghalioun, Burhan, 1945-
    Costopoulos, Philip J., tr.
  • The Persistence of Arab Authoritarianism
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Stepan, Alfred C. "Arab" more than "Muslim" electoral gap.
    • Robertson, Graeme B.
    • Authoritarianism -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
    • Authoritarianism -- Arab countries.
    • Elections -- Arab countries.
    Abstracts:
      To compensate for an accumulated delay, Arabic societies, like the rest of the non-Western societies: China, Russia, most of the African states, Asians and Latin Americans; have attempted since the end of the 19th century to join the Industrial Revolution by official strategies. The failure of these strategies has driven many of these societies to change their choices and to revolt against their totalitarian systems during the 1970's. It's also the case of Arabic societies who started their fight for democratization in the 1980's, well before American intervention. But this transition has been delayed due to the particular place the Middle East occupies in international geopolitics and geoeconomy. While the states of Central Europe and the former Soviet Union have well received the democratic system, the states of the Middle East have been considered unfit to integrate themselves into what must be called the club of global democracy, whose center is found in the Occident. The positions seem for the moment changed and nothing now prevents the Arabic states from joining the other democratic nations in the democratic club.
    Lakoff, Sanford A.
  • The Reality of Muslim Exceptionalism
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Stepan, Alfred C. "Arab" more than "Muslim" electoral gap.
    • Robertson, Graeme B.
    • Democracy -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
    • Democracy -- Arab countries.
    • Elections -- Arab countries.
    Abstracts:
      Alfred Stepan's contention that the "democracy gap" in the Arab world is due not to religion but to other influences is provocative but not persuasive. Almost all Muslim-majority states score low on surveys of freedom. Several of the more populous states listed as Muslim-majority states of a democratic tendency are dubious candidates for that rubric. Both mainstream and radical Islamic clerics contend that the faith is incompatible with democracy. Various pressures may lead to change, as happened in Christian Europe, but one way or another Islamic beliefs will need to be reconciled with democracy, in Arab and non-Arab Muslim countries.
    Stepan, Alfred C.
    Robertson, Graeme B.
  • Arab, Not Muslim, Exceptionalism
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Ghalyun, Burhan, 1945- Persistence of Arab authoritarianism.
    • Lakoff, Sanford A. Reality of Muslim exceptionalism.
    • Authoritarianism -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
    • Authoritarianism -- Arab countries -- History.
    • Democracy -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
    • Democracy -- Arab countries.
    Abstracts:
      The non-Arab Muslim world has exhibited a much higher degree of electoral competition than the Arab Muslim world, both over time and in the contemporary period. 396 million Muslims, about half of the world's Muslim population who live in Non-Arab League Muslim majority states, live in states with competitive elections. By contrast, none of the 270 million Muslims in Arab League member states live under electorally competitive regimes. Arab League member states have increasingly become a distinctive political community within the Muslim world, while non-Arab Muslim majority states are a far more diverse group. As such they are more open to a range of political communities, and consequently to international election observers and other initiatives promoting democracy.
    Bratton, Michael.
  • The "Alternation Effect" in Africa
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Democracy -- Public opinion.
    • Authoritarianism -- Public opinion.
    • Public opinion -- Africa.
    Abstracts:
      There are signs of an incipient electoral pattern in the evolution of public opinion in Africa's new democracies. At first, following founding elections, the popular mood is buoyant. With time, however, declines are observed in mass demands for democracy and perceptions that democracy is being supplied. These declines can be largely offset, and popular faith in democratization restored, however, if a country undergoes a peaceful electoral alternation in which power passes from one ruling party to another. This essay uses data from two Afrobarometer surveys to conduct a preliminary test of these trends.
    Thompson, Mark R.
    Kuntz, Philipp.
  • Stolen Elections: The Case of the Serbian October
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Milosevic, Slobodan, 1941-
    • Coups d'état -- Serbia and Montenegro -- Serbia.
    • Presidents -- Yugoslavia -- Election -- 2000.
    • Yugoslavia -- Politics and government -- 1992-2003.

Books in Review

    Joseph, Richard A.
  • Witnessing Africa’s Woes and Hopes
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • French, Howard W. Continent for the taking: the tragedy and hope of Africa.
    • Africa, Sub-Saharan -- Description and travel.

Books Received

Election Watch

Documents on Democracy

News and Notes

Index




[Project MUSE] [Search Page] [Journals] [Journal Directory] [Top]