Liberalism of Sorts

October 1998

A review of After 1989: Morals, Revolution, and Civil Society by Ralf Dahrendorf

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India Defies the Odds: Making Federalism Work

July 1998

To understand how India's democracy works, and how it manages demands from social groups for greater power, resources, autonomy, and respect, it is essential to understand Indian federalism. That, in turn, requires us to address two questions. First, why have relations between New Delhi and the various state governments (there are at present 25) usually remained manageable? Second, why have things gone so spectacularly wrong in a few states, with "normal" democratic politics breaking down and violent separatist movements appearing?

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India Defies the Odds: Making Federalism Work

July 1998

To understand how India's democracy works, and how it manages demands from social groups for greater power, resources, autonomy, and respect, it is essential to understand Indian federalism. That, in turn, requires us to address two questions. First, why have relations between New Delhi and the various state governments (there are at present 25) usually remained manageable? Second, why have things gone so spectacularly wrong in a few states, with "normal" democratic politics breaking down and violent separatist movements appearing?

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India Defies the Odds: Why Democracy Survives

July 1998

India has long baffled theorists of democracy. Democratic theory holds that poverty, widespread illiteracy, and a deeply hierarchical social structure are inhospitable conditions for the functioning of democracy. Yet except for 18 months in 1975-77, India has maintained its democratic institutions ever since it became independent of Britain in 1947. Over those five decades, there have been 12 parliamentary elections and many more state assembly elections. Peaceful transfers of power between rival political parties have occurred seven times at the central (i.e., federal) level.

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Second Elections in Africa

July 1998

The early 1990s saw a wave of competitive multiparty elections in Africa. These contests can be described as "founding" elections in the sense that they marked for various countries a transition from an extended period of authoritarian rule to fledgling democratic government. By the middle of the 1990s, this wave had crested. Although founding elections continued to be conducted in African countries that were latecomers to the political-reform bandwagon, they took place less frequently than earlier in the decade.

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