Reversing regimes and concepts: from democratization to autocratization

Research

Abstract

The debate on regime change has experienced a U-turn. Attention has shifted from the regime transitions occurred during the so-called third wave of democratization to the signals of an incipient reverse trend. However, the actual import and urgency of the problem remain unclear, due to a growing confusion concerning what a process opposite to democratization is, how many distinct forms it can take, and consequently what the empirical referents of the phenomenon are. Building on the notion of “autocratization”, or regime change towards autocracy, the paper elaborates a framework for the comparative analysis of regime changes opposite to democratization. Specifically, we identify political participation, public contestation and executive limitation as the main dimensions of regime variance, define autocratization accordingly, illustrate and systematize the different regime transitions that fall under this label, and clarify what autocratization is not. The proposed conceptual and analytical framework could support future research on comparative autocratization.

Keywords

Autocratization Democratization Regime change Reverse wave Conceptualization 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Giovanni Carbone, Alex Dukalskis, Marco Giuliani, Davide Grassi, Leonardo Morlino, Gabriele Natalizia, Alessandro Pellegata, Jean-Benoit Pilet, and Francesca Pasquali for the helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© European Consortium for Political Research 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Political SciencesUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly
  2. 2.Centre d’Etude de la Vie Politique (CEVIPOL), Faculté de Philosophie et Sciences SocialesUniversité libre de BruxellesBruxellesBelgium

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