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October 21, 2007
Why Asia ought to be at the center of studies of democratization...
One of my own ongoing concerns is to draw more attention to the lessons of East Asia for law and development, and legal studies more generally. Indeed, this is a key concern for many of us in the CRN, including Veronica, John Ohnesorge, and Per Bergling. I have a forthcoming paper on democratization in Asia, entitled "Lessons for Democratic Transitions: Case Studies from Asia" that may be of interest. The abstract and a download link are below.
Abstract: In an era when democratization is stalled or in retreat in many parts of the world, it is important to highlight the successful democratic experience of East and Southeast Asia in recent decades. Five consolidated democracies have emerged since the mid-1980s; only Thailand has seen some backsliding with the 2006 coup. The Asian cases provide insights into several major debates in the democratization literature, including the relative importance of culture, history, economic structure, and the optimal sequencing of political and economic reform. This article reviews these issues, with particular attention to the role of outside powers in underpinning democratization. Ultimately, the Asian cases offer evidence for optimism about the prospects of a Fourth Wave of democratization.
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