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Parties, Movements, and Democracy in the Developing World
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Book description

This volume analyzes regime politics in the developing world. By focusing on the civilian, collective actors that forge democracy and sustain it, this book moves beyond materialist arguments focusing on gross domestic product (GDP), poverty, and inequality. With case material from four continents, this volume emphasizes the decisive role played by parties and movements in forging democracy against the odds. These pivotal collectivities are consistently the key civilian collectivities that successfully mobilized for democracy, that helped forge enduring democratic institutions, and that shaped the quality of the democracies that emerged; they are the ones tasked with mobilizing along a range of social cleavages, confronting seemingly inhospitable conditions, and coordinating the process of regime change. While the presence of parties and movements alone is not sufficient to explain democracy, their absence is detrimental to enduring democratic regimes. Thus, this volume refocuses our attention on parties and movements as critical mechanisms of regime change.


'This book is an important contribution to the literatures on democratization, parties, and movements. The volume focuses on why democracy sometimes emerges in unlikely places and circumstances. The authors argue persuasively that parties and movements are the primary actors in creating and undermining political regimes, and that these actors’ preferences and behaviors are not predictable on the basis of structural variables. The contributors are among the foremost scholars of the developing world …'

Scott Mainwaring - Harvard University, Massachusetts

'Contrary to long-standing expectations of modernization theory, democracy has spread to a large number of poor countries since the onset of the Third Wave. In Parties, Movements, and Democracy in the Developing World, the contributors address this phenomenon by focusing on the organizational, political, and ideational foundations of democratic change. They do not disregard the advantages of economic development; but they argue convincingly that the social movements and political parties that shape democratic change derive from historical legacies and political choices that cannot be mapped directly to underlying social structure. These arguments are set forth in an excellent framing chapter by the editors, Nancy Bermeo and Deborah J. Yashar, and are pursued in historical detail by noted specialists on India and Southeast Asia, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East … the volume provides a coherent and sophisticated analysis …'

Robert R. Kaufman - Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Rutgers University, New Jersey

'Parties, Movements, and Democracy in the Developing World makes a major contribution to the comparative study of democratization. Bermeo and Yashar make a compelling case that strictly materialist theories - which take for granted the centrality of class cleavages and class-based identities and organizations - are insufficient to understand democratization movements in the developing world. In Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, class is but one of multiple cleavages around which actors mobilize. The chapters in this volume map out the diversity of collective organizations that make up contemporary democratization movements, and they provide new theoretical tools to understand the consequences of that diversity. The chapters take history seriously, showing how the organizational legacies of authoritarian rule and transitions shape subsequent party system and regime trajectories. I learned much from this book. It is required reading for anyone interested in regime change or party systems in the developing world.'

Steven Levitsky - Harvard University, Massachusetts

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