January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

The Arab Spring at 10: Kings or People?

  • Tarek Masoud
A decade ago, Arab peoples stood up and sought to replace their rulers with a more democratic political project. But Arab autocrats have a project of their own. Can the people gain ground in the struggle for self-government, or will their rulers bear it away?
January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

Why Strongmen Win in Weak States

  • Roberto Stefan Foa
While analysts of populism have focused on economic woes and “cultural backlash,” a thirst for the restoration of order may better explain the appeal of authoritarian populists in fragile democracies where governance is falling short.

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January 2021, Volume 32, Issue 1

The End of the Backsliding Paradigm

Like the “transition paradigm” before it, the concept of democratic backsliding threatens to flatten our perceptions of complex political realities. Examples from East-Central Europe illustrate the ambiguous dynamics at play in many troubled democracies.

Featured News

A Conversation on Competitive Authoritarianism

Journal of Democracy editorial board co-chairs Lucan Way and Steven Levitsky sat down with the Journal‘s Brent Kallmer to discuss the new competitive authoritarianism that has emerged in some countries with relatively strong democratic traditions and institutions.

 

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The New Competitive Authoritarianism

In recent years competitive authoritarianism has emerged in some countries with relatively strong democratic traditions and institutions.

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Polarization versus Democracy

Why do ordinary people vote to return to office undemocratic incumbents? New survey experiments in several countries suggest that many voters are willing to put their partisan interests above democratic principles—a finding that may be key to understanding democratic backsliding.

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30 Years of World Politics: What Has Changed?

Democracies are grappling with an era of transformation: Identity is increasingly replacing economics as the major axis of world politics. Technological change has deepened social fragmentation, and trust in institutions is falling. As our most basic assumptions come under question,…

On Democratic Backsliding

Old-fashioned military coups and blatant election-day fraud are becoming mercifully rarer these days, but other, subtler forms of democratic regression are a growing problem that demands more attention.

Why National Identity Matters

From enhancing physical security to encouraging mutual trust, an inclusive sense of national identity continues to be crucial to the flourishing of modern states.