When Autocratization is Reversed: Episodes of Democratic Turnarounds since 1900

56 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2024

See all articles by Marina Nord

Marina Nord

University of Gothenburg - V-Dem Institute

Fabio Angiolillo

University of Gothenburg, V-Dem Institute

Martin Lundstedt

University of Gothenburg - V-Dem Institute

Felix Wiebrecht

University of Gothenburg - V-Dem Institute

Staffan I. Lindberg

University of Gothenburg - Varieties of Democracy Institute; University of Gothenburg - Department of Political Science

Date Written: January 30, 2024

Abstract

The world is currently undergoing a ‘wave of autocratization’. Yet, autocratization is not an end in itself but can be halted and, most importantly, reversed. This paper introduces“democratic turnarounds” as a new type of regime transformation episode in which autocratization is closely followed by and inherently linked to subsequent democratization. It provides a comprehensive conceptualization with an accompanying operationalization of this new type of episode between 1900-2022, complementing the existing Episodes of Regime Transformation (ERT) framework. It also presents the first-ever systematic empirical overview of patterns and developments of democratic turnarounds.
A key finding is that 48% o f all episodes of autocratization become democratic turnarounds, which increases to 70% when focusing on the last 30 years. The vast majority of democratic turnarounds (93 percent) lead to restored or even improved levels of democracy. The new data on democratic turnaround episodes opens up new avenues for research on autocratization and democratization that were previously treated as distinct processes and promises answers to new questions such as why some episodes of autocratization lead to stable autocracies while others result in democratic turnarounds. Answering that question promises to be of tremendous importance for the world that is currently in its deepest-ever wave of autocratization.

Keywords: Democracy, Autocratization, Democratization, Resistance, Turnaround, U-turn

Suggested Citation

Nord, Marina and Angiolillo, Fabio and Lundstedt, Martin and Wiebrecht, Felix and Lindberg, Staffan I., When Autocratization is Reversed: Episodes of Democratic Turnarounds since 1900 (January 30, 2024). V-Dem Working Paper No. 147, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4709862 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4709862

Marina Nord (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg - V-Dem Institute ( email )

Gothenburg, 40530
Sweden

Fabio Angiolillo

University of Gothenburg, V-Dem Institute ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

Martin Lundstedt

University of Gothenburg - V-Dem Institute ( email )

Felix Wiebrecht

University of Gothenburg - V-Dem Institute ( email )

Staffan I. Lindberg

University of Gothenburg - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://v-dem.net

University of Gothenburg - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

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