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Conceptual Issues in the Comparative Study of Regime Change and Democratization

Stephanie Lawson
Comparative Politics
Vol. 25, No. 2 (Jan., 1993), pp. 183-205
DOI: 10.2307/422351
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/422351
Page Count: 23
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Conceptual Issues in the Comparative Study of Regime Change and Democratization
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Abstract

Much of the literature on regime change and democratization has failed to address some key concepts. Little effort has been made to examine systematically the distinction among state, regime, and government. Although conceptually distinct, only when democratization has reached a certain stage do they become empirically so. An important indicator of regime change in the direction of democratization is the extent to which these distinctions become clearer in practice. The delineation of the basic antithetical regime types—democracy and authoritarianism—has also been neglected. The article proposes certain necessary conditions for the functioning of democracy in modern mass polities with particular emphasis on the role of political opposition and parties in both democratic and nondemocratic regimes.

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