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State or Democracy First? Alternative Perspectives on the State-Democracy Nexus

Sebastián Mazzuca


Gerardo L. Munck

University of Southern California

August 25, 2013

This paper addresses the nexuses between democracy, understood in minimal procedural terms, and three key aspects of the state: the state as a political center with a monopoly of the use of violence over a population within a given territory, the state as a political center which rules over a population that has a sense of nationhood, and the state as a political center that delivers public goods beyond political order, such as economic and social welfare. We consider two perspectives on these state-democracy nexuses: one that holds that, to ensure that democratization is successful and democracy enduring, various challenges pertaining to the state must be tackled before the democracy question is addressed; another that posits that the challenges pertaining to the state can be addressed in the course of a process of democratization or through democratic procedures. And we conclude that the oft-repeated proposition “no state, no democracy” is at best only partially true and many of its derivations are false. Indeed, “no democracy, no state” is a more plausible claim and one that is especially relevant in the contemporary period.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 28

Keywords: state, democracy, democratization, nationalism, administration

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Date posted: August 26, 2013 ; Last revised: September 3, 2013

Suggested Citation

Mazzuca, Sebastián and Munck, Gerardo L., State or Democracy First? Alternative Perspectives on the State-Democracy Nexus (August 25, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2315927 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2315927

Contact Information

Sebastián Mazzuca
EPyG - UNSAM ( email )
25 de Mayo y Francia
C.P. 1650
San Martín, Prov. de Buenos Aires
Gerardo L. Munck (Contact Author)
University of Southern California ( email )
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
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