Political Science
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Books/Journals

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The TRI legacy​

​Democrac​y under stress: The global crisis and beyond

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Co-edited by Ursula van Beek and Edmund Wnuk-Lipinski the book was first published in 2011 by Barbara Budrich Publishers in Germany. The (South African edition was launched at the Wallenberg Research Centre at STIAS at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study on 16 February 2012.

Click here for the full press release

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Some of the authors at the public launch of the SA edition: from left Peng Lu, Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Ursula Hoffmann-Lange, Philip Mohr, Ursula van Beek, Christer Jönsson, Pierre du Toit, Yilmaz Esmer

​The volume conceptualises the origins and the management of the global financial crisis and its implications for democracy. It covers a wide range of topics from history, liberal democratic theory, capitalism, the rise of China, globalization, to the challenges of global democratic governance.

​​ISBN 978-3-86649-453-4 (International edition);

ISBN 978-1-820-338-70-1  ISBN 978-1-920338-71-8 (Electronic)

 

Snippets of what some reviewers thought

[The book brings] together a number of impressive authors from Germany, Sweden, the UK, South Korea, China and South Africa to reflect on the 2008 financial crisis, specifically on the impact of the crisis on democracy. This is an important question if we keep in mind that China, an authoritarian capitalist state, weathered the storm remarkably well, whilst the 'old' Western democracies were very hard hit. The authors explore the link between democratic and authoritarian capitalisms, well aware of the fact that China's economic success story challenges one of the core beliefs in political science: democracy promotes economic growth and authoritarianism stifles economic progress and leads to or increases poverty. A rather sobering reminder comes from Van Beek in her chapter, 'China and the crisis in historical perspective': capitalism does not necessarily need democracy to prosper.

A short review cannot do justice to the many ideas and arguments contained in this book. One need not agree with all the arguments. I am left with the feeling that the book takes the benefits of liberal democracy too much as a given without really interrogating the heavy price that the developing world had to pay for the numerous socio-economic and political benefits enjoyed (and now largely squandered) by citizens of the West. Neither is there much in the line of new ideas 'out of the mess', but it is an excellent read for anyone interested in and concerned with the consequences of the global financial crisis and should be prescribed reading in courses on IPE. • Maxi Schoeman, Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria.

Politikon , vol. 39, no. 2, pp. 304-307, 2012

This book offers a perspective on how economic crisis and economic development can affect political regimes and how they respond to the economic and social challenges so posed. The authors of the volume explain the necessity of such reflections in the light not only of the economic crisis but also in the light of the turmoil and the political consequences that follow. The volume gathers contribution based on various experiences, each describing regional or local contexts during an economic crisis.

The volume remains an interesting contribution in the field of political economy. It confronts and analyses different kinds of approaches to the crisis by liberal democracies and autocratic regimes. The book stresses the idea that new democracies faces a lower risk today concerning their political stability than

autocratic regimes during major economic crisis. Review CEU, Political Science Journal, Vol. 7 No. 7 (2012)

http://epa.oszk.hu/02300/02341/00029/pdf/EPA02341_ceu_2012_04_497-523.pdf

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Democracy under scrutiny: Elites, citizens, cultures

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The book reveals the diverse worlds of history, civic culture and values of South Africa, South Korea, Chile, Poland, Turkey, Germany and Sweden. It explores the similarities and contrasts between the values of the elites and the ordinary people. Written from various disciplinary perspectives and offering both empirical evidence and insiders' knowledge, this book is bound to interest a wide variety of readers.

ISBN 978-3-86649-306-3


Authors        

  • Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany  
  • Edmund Wnuk-Lipinski, Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
  • Thorleif Pettersson, Professor, Department of Theology, Sociology of Religion, University of

Uppsala, Uppsala, Sweden

  • Hennie Kotzé, Faculty of Arts, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Bernard Lategan, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), South Africa
  • Pierre du Toit, Department of Political Science, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Sang-Jin Han, Professor, Department of Sociology, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea
  • Yilmaz Esmer Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations
  • Bahcesehir University, Besiktas, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Ursula Hoffmann-Lange, Professor (Political Science), Faculty of Social Sciences, Economics and Business Administration, University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany
  • Simon Moritz,  PhD candidate, Department of Political Studies, University of Bamberg, Bamberg, Germany

Editor and co-author: Ursula van Beek, Transformation Research Initiative (TRI), Stellenbosch University, South Africa.


Snippets of what some reviewers thought 

This volume makes a striking contribution to the comparative democratisation literature. It is based on the transversal examination of seven major and well- established democratic regimes distributed across four continents. This selection avoids most of the usual suspects – although it does include two robust west European democracies. So it provides a broader canvas than usual for examining the interplay of values and divergence of priorities that regulate relations between the demos and professionalised political elites in a representative set of institutionally secure and naturally prominent contemporary democracies. The comparability of the cases is provided by a standardised questionnaire and data collection, but the limited size of the sample and its global dispersion also permits the authors to devote proper attention to contextual variation. Although all the democracies under consideration are quite strong, nearly all are also relatively recent. So the exercise also sheds light on the varied nature of successful democratisation outcomes. 

• ​Laurence Whitehead, Oxford University

​[The authors] have produced a major, even a seminal, volume.  Its initial assumptions may be firmly anchored in the mainstream of the discipline of political science, but their less than orthodox treatment of an especially rich comparative dataset demonstrates a collective willingness to move beyond these confines and to question these assumptions.   No one interested in democratization, including a sceptic like myself, can afford not to come to terms with both its method and its findings. 

Philippe C. Schmitter, European University Institute

[This] is a significant research undertaking that extends beyond the seven nations in this project. Its innovative use of the World Values Survey and paired surveys of political elites has great potential to expand our understanding of the democratic process and its variation, especially in developing nations. 

Russell J. Dalton, University of California

 

Democracy under construction: Patterns from four continents

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The book compares five newly emerged democracies in Europe, East Asia, Latin America and Africa. Cutting across vastly different historical and cultural backgrounds it tells the story of how societies come to terms with a painful past and how politics, culture and the economy intertwine in the process of creating new democratic nations.

The volume pioneers a new approach to the study of democratisation. It does so by combining comparative and interdisciplinary analyses of South Africa, Poland, (East) Germany, South Korea and Chile, that is, five countries where a similar general thrust of democratisation is set against the most diversified cultural and historical backgrounds.

ISBN 3-938094-24-9 (International edition)

ISBN 0-627-02664-8 (South African edition)

 

Authors

  • Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany
  • Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris, F

  • ce
  • Jörn Rüsen, Kulturwissenschaftliches Insti
  • tut, Essen, Germany
  • Susanne Fuchs, Department of Sociology, New School University, USA
  • Edmund Wnuk-Lipinski, Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
  • Radek Markowski, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
  • Marek Ziolkowski, Sociology Department, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland
  • Philip Mohr, Department of Economics, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
  • Hennie Kotzé, Faculty of Arts, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Bernard Lategan, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), South Africa
  • Pierre du Toit, Department of Political Science, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Jorge Heine, Ambassador of Chile to India.
  • The editor and co-author: Ursula van Beek, Transformation Research Initiative (TRI), Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

 

Snippets of what some reviewers thought

From the Leader of the Opposition to the apartheid state: This is a must-read for anyone concerned with the future of democracy as a political system. It provides a compelling, methodologically and philosophically sound analysis of pre- and post-transitions to democracy on four continents, but especially in five countries: Poland, East Germany, South Korea, Chile and South Africa. Appearing 15 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, this book reminds us very persuasively that the breakdown of organised Communism was not the final victory of democracy, but the beginning of major new challenges to problems of democratisation.

The book reveals the diverse worlds of history, civic culture and values of South Africa, South Korea, Chile, Poland, Turkey, Germany and Sweden. It explores the similarities and contrasts between the values of the elites and the ordinary people. Written from various disciplinary perspectives and offering both empirical evidence and insiders' knowledge, this book is bound to interest a wide variety of readers.

Frederik van Zyl Slabbert

Introductory state-of-the art theoretical chapters on political   institutions   and   party   systems,   economic policy, civil society and historical memory are followed by in-depth comparisons between the cases with the support of country specialists… With the focus of the existing literature being predominantly on single- country   studies   or   intra-regional   comparisons   of Latin American or East European cases, this volume describes a wider arc and also familiarises students of democratisation with hitherto rather neglected cases from East Asia and Africa. This approach opens up new avenues, especially for cultural-historical comparisons. • Maximilian Spinner, Central European University

 

Pre-TRI publications

​In the early 1990s transitology, or the study of the processes of change from an autocratic regime to democracy, came into its own. This was in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, which opened the floodgates to a wave of new democracies. But at that time transitologists usually restricted their comparative interests to either countries located in one geo-political region (primarily Latin America or Central/Eastern), or they conducted multidisciplinary studies but limited them to one particular society. The Predecessor of TRI/TRU broke both these confines with the introduction of a cross-disciplinary research agenda initiating thereby the study of transitions to democracy in most dissimilar historical and cultural contexts whose societies face most dissimilar political and social problems.

 

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​​Journals  

2015: Special edition: The global crisis and its impact on democracy

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Taiwan Journal of Democracy. An International Journal of Politics, Volume 11, No. 1, July 2015

 

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Other articles


2017: Special edition: Hurdles to Democratic Consolidation in Southern Africa

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Taiwan Journal of Democracy. An International Journal of Politics, Volume 13, No. 1, July 2017


For more information on this issue, see: International journal allocates entire volume to research by African scholars