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Revista de Sociologia e Política

On-line version ISSN 1678-9873


MONCLAIRE, Stéphane. Democracy, transition and consolidation: making concepts more precise . Rev. Sociol. Polit. [online]. 2001, n.17, pp.61-74. ISSN 1678-9873.

The article proposes the critical evaluation of the theses on the construction of democracy that have been enunciated in recent decades, emphasizing "transitology" and "consolidology" in particular. These disciplines, which emerged between 1970 and 1990, purport the study of the processes of exit from authoritarian regimes, adopting a model of democracy based on the experience of countries of early democracy, in particular Europe and the USA. This model is taken as an ideal that is then used as an absolute standard against which all other processes of democratic transition are held up for judgement. I maintain that the scientific statut of these disciplines is highly dubious, due to their low explanatory and predictive power. They are based on excessively abstract and formalistic models - such as game theory and its "rational voter" - which privilege juridical and political factors while not giving adequate consideration to the social, economic and cultural.

Keywords : democracy; political transition; consolidation of democracy; political institutions; electoral behavior; economics.

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