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Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0801851582 ISBN-10: 0801851580

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Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America, and Post-Communist Europe + The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late 20th Century (The Julian J. Rothbaum Distinguished Lecture Series)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (August 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801851580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801851582
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,096 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

An absolutely major work that represents probably the most significant contribution to the burgeoning literature on democratization over the past decade and the most ambitious effort to move the debate beyond the seminal work on transition, Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Prospects for Democracy by Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead (1986), by considering the problem of democratization in light of the dramatic regime changes in eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

(Gerardo L. Munck Slavic Review)

This is an important volume by two major scholars on a central topic—one of broad interest to people in comparative politics, to those interested in democracy, and to regional specialists on Southern Latin America and on Central and Eastern Europe. The book will unquestionably be a major contribution to the literature on constructing democratic governance.

(Abraham F. Lowenthal University of Southern California)

About the Author

Juan J. Linz is Sterling Professor of Political and Social Science at Yale University. Alfred Stepan, the first rector and president of the Central European University, is Gladstone Professor of Government and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford University.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matthew P. Arsenault on August 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the title suggests, Linz and Stepan examine democratic transition and consolidation. Linz and Stepan argue that a democratic transition is completed when the relevant actors agree on the "the rules of the game." These rules include those regarding elected government: when and how the government is formed through free and fair elections, when and how the government has de facto authority to create new policies, and when the branches of government no longer have to share power with other bodies. When the government abides by the rules developed, Linz and Stepan would argue that it has become a democracy. Consolidation is achieved when the democratic system is viewed as "the only game in town," and the majority of the public subscribes to those institutions. Additionally, Linz and Stepan see a consolidated democracy as not simply a regime, but rather a system of interaction parts. These parts include civil society, political society, rule of law, bureaucracy, and an institutionalization of economic society.

The authors use a number of explanatory variables when examining democratic transition and consolidation. These variables are divided into three categories. The first, macrovariables, include stateness, and prior regime type. The second, actor variables, includes the leadership base of the prior regime type, and who initiates and controls oppositions. Lastly, context variables include international influences, the political economy of legitimacy, and the constitution-making environment.

Linz and Stepan argue that "democracy requires statehood." Without a state' ability to use coercive force, tax, and implement a judicial system, the five arenas of a consolidated democracy will not be achieved.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Enjolras TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
When reading this book, two concerns immediately struck me. First, on what were Linz and Stepan basing their analysis? They provide definitions about consolidated democracy, types of authoritarian regimes, and the effects of various types of transitions, but it's not clear from what evidence they draw their conclusions. In fact, they seem to be pulling some of their conclusions out of thin air. This might be OK for one or two definitions, but it's hard to follow a book that ranges so wide and far without being able to see or follow their logic.

Second, the book focuses on Europe and South America. I presume those are the authors' areas of expertise. However, this focus is both too wide and too limited. It's too wide in the sense that the regions aren't similar so comparisons are sometimes strained too far. After all, the totalitarian cases come primarily from one region (Europe) while the military juntas from another (South America). The case selection is too narrow in that there are plenty of cases outside these regions which undermine the authors' theories (such as China and Vietnam).

Overall, this is yet another example of how unfocused analysis leads to unfocused answers. There are some useful portions of the book worth skimming through, and I like the use of charts to summarize the theories. This might be worth skimming through to get ideas for future research, but read it with skepticism and a questioning mind.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There is no doubt that the content of this book is up to the standard of these two scholars. I bought the book as a reference for a masters thesis. I bought the Kindle version for its immediacy and so that I didn't have to carry the physical book with me on a trip to Southeast Asia. My only critique is that, surprisingly, the Kindle version does not include a Bibliography; not a big deal if you're just doing some casual reading, but it's essential when conducting research. The references are in the endnotes. So, unfortunately, a workaround is required. If you come upon a reference that you'd like to explore further, you can highlight it a specific color, then pull up the "My Notebook" function within the Kindle app and filter that specific color.
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By Anna on July 13, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i need this book for class. great book to keep in your collection if your into academia. its a good read.
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