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Processes and Mechanisms of Democratization

Charles Tilly
Sociological Theory
Vol. 18, No. 1 (Mar., 2000), pp. 1-16
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/223279
Page Count: 16
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Processes and Mechanisms of Democratization
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Abstract

Unlike Artistotle's analysis, recent treatments of democratization identify pathways and propose necessary conditions but fall short of specifying cause-effect relations. Democratization does not follow a single path, and is unlikely to have universally applicable necessary or sufficient conditions. A political process analysis of democratization defines it as movement toward broad citizenship, equal citizenship, binding consultation of citizens, and protection of citizens from arbitrary state action. High levels of all four elements depend on a significant degree of state capacity. Democratization emerges from interacting changes in public politics, categorical inequality, and networks of trust, which in turn depend on specifiable mechanisms of change in social relations. When the shocks of conquest, confrontation, colonization, and revolution promote democratization, they do so by accelerating the same causal mechanisms. The next round of research and theory on democratization requires identification, verification, and connection of the relevant causal mechanisms.

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