The State-Democracy Nexus: Conceptual Distinctions, Theoretical Perspectives, and Comparative Approaches

1st Edition

Jørgen Møller, Svend-Erik Skaaning

Routledge
Published January 12, 2018
Reference - 144 Pages
ISBN 9781138502529 - CAT# Y372198
Series: Democratization Special Issues

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Summary

The great dilemma of democracy revolves around the state. Historically, the state has played a crucial role as enforcer of liberal democratic constitutions, but it has also been used by autocratic rulers to entrench their rule. The state is thus a two-edged sword: It can both be the guarantee of democratic rights and a tool that can be used to suppress such rights. One corollary of this is that the influence of state structures on democratic development depends on who holds government power. But the opposite observation can also be made, as governments play an important role in shaping the state apparatus. The state and the regime are thus intertwined.

Against this backdrop, this book presents a series of attempts – authored by influential experts such as Francis Fukuyama and Gerardo Munck – to disentangle the relationship between the state and political regimes. The contributions differ in terms of their particular theoretical and empirical focus. But they share the assumption that three criteria need to be observed to achieve a better understanding of the state-democracy nexus. First, it is valuable to distinguish conceptually between different aspects of the state. Second, the potential relationships between democracy and these attributes of state should be carefully theorized. Third, the consequent propositions must be interrogated using comparative approaches. This book was originally published as a special issue of Democratization.

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