Students of political democratization have employed the notion of “democratic consolidation” in unclear and inconsistent ways. The article reconstructs and. Much of the literature on ‘democratic consolidation’ has adopted a forward‐ looking, future‐oriented perspective. Rather than studying past regimes, it tries to . Andreas Schedler, who is currently attached to the Facultad Latinoamericana de possibly most, students of democratic consolidation are studying today’s.

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Two other subtypes of democracy have gained wide recognition in the scholarly literature on new democracies. Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Linz and Stepan offer an intuitive definition of consolidation—a democracy is consolidated when no political actors seek to overthrow it.

Viewpoints and Horizons

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Schedler suggests cnsolidation behavioral evidence is superior to attitudinal and economic evidence because it is more proximate to the phenomenon of interest: Premised on the idea that beliefs about political outcomes generated by a regime are important in determining whether democracy is amdreas, the author takes a rational-choice approach to examine the strategy of elite actors on the right side of the political spectrum in five European states.

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How to Subscribe Oxford Bibliographies Online is available by subscription and perpetual access to institutions. The use of one and the same term for vastly different things only simulates a shared common language; in fact, consolidayion reigning conceptual disorder is acting as a powerful barrier to scholarly communication, theory building, and the accumulation of knowledge.

For example, although there is no consensus on whether economic growth and prospects for democratization are positively linked, scholars generally agree that economic growth contributes to democratic consolidation.


If you would like to authenticate using a different subscribed institution that supports Shibboleth authentication or have democatic own login and password to Project MUSE, click ‘Authenticate’. On the other hand, equating consolidation with endurance may strike some scholars and students as a descriptive tautology; consolidated democracies are those that survive, and surviving democracies are those that are consolidated.

At this point, with people using the concept any way they like, nobody can be sure what it means to others, but andrdas maintain the illusion of speaking to one another in some comprehensible way. Just as many different types of authoritarian regimes and paths of transition exist, so do many roads to consolidation.

Paradoxically, however, long-lasting democracies do not seem to be immune from a degradation in the quality of their democracy.

“What Is Democratic Consolidation?” by Andreas Schedler

Sign in with your library card. The meaning that we ascribe to the notion of democratic consolidation depends on where we stand our empirical viewpoints and where we aim to reach our normative horizons.

Jump to Other Articles: Time is an especially important component of many empirical works that seek to explain regime endurance. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content on this page.

It varies according to the contexts and the goals we have in mind. It has come to include such divergent items as popular legitimation, the diffusion of democratic values, the neutralization of antisystem actors, civilian supremacy over the military, the [End Page 91] elimination of authoritarian enclaves, party building, the organization of functional interests, the stabilization of electoral rules, the routinization of politics, the decentralization of state power, the introduction of mechanisms of direct democracy, judicial reform, the alleviation of poverty, and economic stabilization.


This leads the author to a somewhat self-evident conclusion that democracies endure when political actors behave democratically.

University of Oklahoma Press, If consolidation is complete when a democracy is likely to endure, then observable measures of endurance are needed. Instead, the authors suggest that consolidation is a process of stabilization, routinization, and institutionalization of patterns of political behavior.

Instead, he suggests that if consolidation is determined by whether a democracy will endure, then typologies of polyarchy must include informally institutionalized democracies—those in which actors act for particularistic rather than universalistic reasons. They point out that democracies may take many forms and will not necessarily be better at solving various socioeconomic problems. Although he acknowledges that individual choices are conditioned by context-specific issues, Alexander makes the argument that elites must choose democracy and often do so for self-interested reasons.

Project MUSE – What is Democratic Consolidation?

Moving away from arguments about preconditions, Alexander presents a theory of consolidation based on the strategic choices of political elites. View freely available titles: Meanwhile, the role of civil society is as ambiguous in andreaw as it is in democratization. Consolidation of new democracies requires strong political institutions, horizontal as well as vertical accountability, the rule of law, a vibrant civil society, and improved economic performance, which all generate legitimacy for the regime.