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Are there hybrid regimes? Or are they just an optical illusion?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2009

Leonardo Morlino
Affiliation:
Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, Florence, Italy
Corresponding
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Abstract

In recent years there has been growing interest and a related literature on hybrid regimes. Is there a good definition of such an institutional arrangement? Are there actually sets of stabilized, political institutions that can be labelled in this way? Is it possible that within the widespread process of democracy diffusion these are only ‘transitional’ regimes and the most suitable distinction is still the old one, suggested by Linz and traditionally accepted, between democracy and authoritarianism? This article addresses and responds to these questions by pinpointing the pertinent analytic dimensions, starting with definitions of ‘regime’, ‘authoritarianism’, and ‘democracy’; by defining what a ‘hybrid regime’ is; by trying to answer the key question posed in the title; by disentangling the cases of proper hybrid regimes from the cases of transitional phases; and by proposing a typology of hybrid regimes. Some of the main findings and conclusions refer to the lack of institutions capable of performing their functions as well as the key elements for achieving possible changes towards democracy.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © European Consortium for Political Research 2009

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