The Meanings of Democracy: Solving an Asian Puzzle

Issue Date October 2010
Volume 21
Issue 4
Page Numbers 114-122
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It is problematic to rely on indicators carrying the “D-word” for measuring democratic legitimacy. Popular conception of the “D-word” has been so much contaminated by competing public discourses and socializing mechanisms that the word “democracy” has lost much of its conceptual clarity and semantic consistency when it travels across borders. We introduce a more reliable tool to compare the cultural foundation for liberal democracy across countries, especially between democratic and non-democratic ones. A newly developed typological analysis, which is applied to two waves of Asian Barometer Survey, enables us to differentiate the substance of democratic legitimacy from its appearance.

About the Authors

Yun-han Chu

Yun-han Chu was an academician of Academia Sinica, where he was also Distinguished Research Fellow of the Institute of Political Science, and professor of political science at National Taiwan University.

View all work by Yun-han Chu

Min-hua Huang

Min-hua Huang is assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University and was executive secretary of the Asian Barometer Survey from 2004 to 2008.

View all work by Min-hua Huang