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  • Author: Eileen Donahoe
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Ambassador's Review
  • Institution: Council of American Ambassadors
  • Abstract: The United States plans to host a Summit for Democracy to advance President Joseph Biden’s stated priority for national security of revitalizing democracy. Digital technology must be a focal point of the Summit. The future of democracy depends, in large part, on the ability of democracies to confront the digital transformation of society – to address the challenges and to capitalize on its opportunities. Over the past decade, democracies have struggled to meet this test, while authoritarians have used technology to deepen repression and extend global influence. To combat the digital authoritarian threat, democracies must be rallied around a shared values-based vision of digital society and a joint strategic technology agenda. The Summit tech agenda should revolve around five core themes: 1) Democracies must get their own tech policy “houses” in order; 2) To win the normative battle, democracies must compete and win the technology battle; 3) Technological transformation necessitates governance innovation; 4) To win the geopolitical battle for the soul of 21st century digital society, democracies must band together; 5) Technology must be reclaimed for citizens and humanity.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Democracy, Summit
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Christopher Way
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: In a climate of concern about the future of capitalism and democracy, this book provides a robust defense of both. Capitalism and democracy, Torben Iversen and David Soskice argue, are mutually reinforcing, and the combination has been remarkably successful over the past century. In what will probably be the most discussed part of the book, they anticipate that the symbiotic pair will continue to thrive, overcoming the challenges posed by populism and inequality. Democracy and Prosperity provides a challenge to those who believe that capitalism is increasingly unable to fulfill the needs of broad swaths of society and that democracy is creaking under the strains of populism.
  • Topic: History, Democracy, Capitalism, Book Review
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Tom Ginsburg
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Political Science Quarterly
  • Institution: Academy of Political Science
  • Abstract: It is hardly a secret that democracy is in trouble around the world, and the phenomenon of backsliding has prompted a small wave of books diagnosing the problem and suggesting solutions. David Runciman’s contribution to this literature is a breezy and readable tour through mechanisms and alternatives. Easily weaving political theory with grounded examples, he has produced a highly accessible analysis focusing more on diagnosis than cure. Runciman’s title is to be distinguished from accounts of how specific democracies are dying or what might be done to save constitutional democracy. Instead, he focuses on the idea that Western democracy is undergoing something of a midlife crisis. Nothing lasts forever, and while democracy has had a pretty good run, it now “looks exhausted in the places it has the deepest roots” (p. 72). Contemplating democracy’s death, the book is organized around a series of mechanisms by which this might come about: coup, environmental catastrophe, technological displacement, and the various alternatives of benevolent and not so benevolent authoritarianism that have been put on offer. His main argument is that while we are attracted to democracy because of its history, the past does not repeat itself, and we are likely to face new challenges not yet contemplated. If democracy dies, the autopsy will be a new one.
  • Topic: Democracy, Book Review, Political Science
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Yascha Mounk
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Until a few years ago, many argued that liberal democracy was the most just and attractive political regime. The most prominent manifestation of this optimism was Francis Fukuyama’s thesis of the “end of history.” Ironically, many of the same social scientists who dismissed Fukuyama’s work out of hand at the time were themselves committed to equally far-reaching assumptions. Now, as the tides of history are rapidly turning, the hypotheses of theory are being reversed. Indeed, some authors today predict that as the conditions that made liberal democracy possible fade away, it is likely to be supplanted by illiberal democracy, competitive authoritarianism, or outright dictatorship. Such conclusions risk being just as rash as the more optimistic ones that preceded them.
  • Topic: Democracy, Populism, Illiberal Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Francis Fukuyama
  • Publication Date: 01-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: Since the publication of the Journal of Democracy began in 1990, the political climate has shifted from one of democratic gains and optimism to what Larry Diamond labels a “democratic recession.” Underlying these changes has been a reorientation of the major axis of political polarization, from a left-right divide defined largely in economic terms toward a politics based on identity. In a second major shift, technological development has had unexpected effects—including that of facilitating the rise of identity-based social fragmentation. The environment for democracy has been further transformed by other slow-moving changes, among them the shift toward neoliberal economic policies, the legacy of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and lowered expectations regarding democratic transitions. Sustaining democracy will require rebuilding the legitimate authority of the institutions of liberal democracy, while resisting those powers that aspire to make nondemocratic institutions central.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Democracy, Legitimacy, Democratic Decline
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Luiza Rodrigues Mateo
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional (RBPI)
  • Institution: Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI)
  • Abstract: Democracy assistance is an important tool of United States foreign policy, serving strategic interests in association with several agendas, from human rights to national security. The objective of this article is to make a historical reconstruction of the definitions and practices of American democracy assistance, describing its institutional architecture, budgetary levels and political priorities. Special attention is given to U.S. foreign aid rationale and contemporary trends, recapturing the last thirty years of growth in democracy assistance since the end of the Cold War.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Foreign Aid, Democracy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus, United States of America
  • Author: Deborah Jordan Brooks, Stephen G. Brooks, Brian D. Greenhill, Mark L. Haas
  • Publication Date: 02-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Security
  • Institution: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The world is experiencing a period of unprecedented demographic change. For the first time in human history, marked disparities in age structures exist across the globe. Around 40 percent of the world's population lives in countries with significant numbers of elderly citizens. In contrast, the majority of the world's people live in developing countries with very large numbers of young people as a proportion of the total population. Yet, demographically, most of the world's states with young populations are aging, and many are doing so quickly. This first-of-its kind systematic theoretical and empirical examination of how these demographic transitions influence the likelihood of interstate conflict shows that countries with a large number of young people as a proportion of the total population are the most prone to international conflict, whereas states with the oldest populations are the most peaceful. Although societal aging is likely to serve as a force for enhanced stability in most, and perhaps all, regions of the world over the long term, the road to a “demographic peace” is likely to be bumpy in many parts of the world in the short to medium term.
  • Topic: Demographics, War, International Security, Democracy, International Relations Theory
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Japan, China, Germany, Global Focus
  • Author: Bertjan Verbeek, Andrej Zaslove
  • Publication Date: 06-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The International Spectator
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Populism seems to be a well-established notion in public and academic debate alike. Nevertheless, several issues surrounding populism are still contested and thus merit closer attention. These contested issues encompass the extent to which populism is novel and ubiquitous; the scope of the phenomenon; the merits of the various definitions of populism; its political colour(s); the potential danger it poses to democracy; its appropriateness to govern; as well as populism’s impact beyond national borders.
  • Topic: Government, Democracy, Populism, Public Policy, Radical Right, Leftist Politics
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Anders Themner, Roxanna Sjostedt
  • Publication Date: 11-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Security Studies
  • Institution: Security Studies
  • Abstract: Post–civil war democracies are characterized by intense electoral competition. To ensure continued political relevance, ex-military-turned-politicians, or “warlord democrats” (WDs), can either engage in a rhetoric of fear or ease societal tensions by employing a rhetoric of peace. WDs’ choice of rhetoric can have a profound impact on durable peace by altering societal discourses concerning the legitimacy of using violence. A key question is therefore: Why do some WDs employ a rhetoric of fear, and others a rhetoric of peace, when running for office? We argue that the choice of rhetoric is a function of the patrimonial endowments WDs possess; if WDs lack the resources and social networks needed to distribute patronage, they may instead use a rhetoric of fear to rally voters. To highlight the explanatory value of this proposition, we compare two Liberian WDs who ran for the Senate in 2005—Adolphus Dolo and Prince Johnson.
  • Topic: Civil War, Authoritarianism, Democracy, State Violence, Legitimacy
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Milan W. Svolik
  • Publication Date: 07-2019
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: Journal of Democracy
  • Institution: National Endowment for Democracy
  • Abstract: When can we realistically expect ordinary people to check the authoritarian ambitions of elected politicians? An answer to this question is key to understanding the most prominent development in the dynamic of democratic survival since the end of the Cold War: the subversion of democracy by elected incumbents and its emergence as the most common form of democratic breakdown. This article proposes an explanation according to which political polarization undermines the public’s ability to serve as a democratic check: In polarized electorates, voters are willing to trade off democratic principles for partisan interests. The article presents evidence that supports this claim; raises questions about the real-world relevance of conventional measures of support for democracy; and highlights the importance of understanding the role that ordinary people play in democratic backsliding.
  • Topic: Authoritarianism, Elections, Democracy, Polarization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus