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  • Print publication year: 2005
  • Online publication date: September 2012

7 - The Causal Link between Democratic Values and Democratic Institutions: Theoretical Discussion


Rising self-expression values transform modernization into a process of human development, giving rise to a new type of humanistic society that promotes human emancipation on many fronts. This transformation has a number of important societal consequences. One of them is that it encourages the emergence and flourishing of democratic institutions. This chapter outlines this process, discussing the causal linkage between mass self-expression values and democratic institutions. Building on previous work by Welzel (2002), Chapter 8 tests the propositions and conclusions developed here, using quantitative empirical analyses.

From the perspective of human development, the crucial element of democratization is that it empowers people. Democracy provides civil and political rights, entitling people to freedom of choice in their private and public actions (see Dahl, 1973, 2003; Rose, 1995; Sen, 1999: 152–54). Human development is not linked with all forms of democracy to the same degree; it is most specifically linked with the liberal aspect of democracy that institutionalizes human choice.

The Third Wave gave birth to a large number of new democracies that were initially greeted with enthusiasm (Pye, 1990; Fukuyama, 1992). Subsequently, however, a growing number of observers have noted that many of the new democracies show severe deficiencies in their actual practice of civil and political liberties (Ottaway, 2003). Widespread concern has been expressed about “low intensity democracies,” “electoral democracies,” “defective democracy,” or “illiberal democracies” (D. Collier and Adcock, 1999; Bollen and Paxton, 2000; Merkel et al., 2003; O'Donnell, Vargas Cullel, and Iazzetta, 2004).

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Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy
  • Online ISBN: 9780511790881
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