Waves But No Tide: On Transitions to Democracy and Notions of Progress

7 Pages Posted: 30 May 2018

See all articles by Malcolm MacLaren

Malcolm MacLaren

Institut für Völkerrecht und ausländisches Verfassungsrecht, Universität Zürich

Date Written: July 15, 2015

Abstract

The following paper critiques the prevailing understanding and dominant discourse about transitions from autocracy to democracy.

It starts with the observation that despite considerable scientific research and actual experience, scholars and politicians continue to have real difficulties in dealing with the issue of democratization.

The paper argues that their approaches to democratization are fundamentally misguided, since they are based on problematic notions of progress.

It concludes that promoters of democracy internationally should question what ideologies and prejudices influence their judgments and that they should acknowledge that democratization is a historically open process whose outcomes require individual explanations.

Keywords: democracy promotion, meta-history, progress narratives, waveology

Suggested Citation

MacLaren, Malcolm, Waves But No Tide: On Transitions to Democracy and Notions of Progress (July 15, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3180775 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3180775

Malcolm MacLaren (Contact Author)

Institut für Völkerrecht und ausländisches Verfassungsrecht, Universität Zürich ( email )

74 Ramistrasse
Zurich, Zurich 8001
Switzerland

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