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The book compares five newly emerged democracies in Europe, South East Asia, Latin America and Africa. Cutting across vastly different historical and cultural backgrounds it tells the story of how societies come to terms with a painful past and how politics, culture and the economy intertwine in the process of creating new democratic nations.
Frederik van zyl Slabbert: “This is a must read for anyone concerned about the future of democracy as a political system. It provides a compelling, methodologically and philosophically sound analysis of pre- and post- transitions to democracy on four continents but specially five countries: Poland, East Germany, South Korea, Chile and South Africa.
Appearing 15 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall this book reminds us very persuasively that the breakdown of organised Communism was not the final victory of democracy, but the beginning of major new challenges to problems of democratisation. The comparative analysis, using a common conceptual framework, assists in providing illuminating insights into common problems but also into specific dilemmas in the countries analyzed. For scholars and practitioners, I cannot recommend this work highly enough.”
Ronald Inglehart: “Democracy under construction: Patterns from four continents makes a major contribution to our understanding of how democratic consolidation works. It skillfully integrates broad comparative analyses of the roles played by such factors as economic performance, institutional engineering, civil society, mass support, with detailed attention to the situation-specific factors influencing democratic consolidation in five different settings: Poland, East Germany, South Africa, Chile and South Korea. Bringing together findings from societal-level evidence and individual-level survey data, it introduces a new perspective — that of historical memory — to produce a rich and insightful interpretation of how democracy is being consolidated in societies shaped by very different cultural and historical traditions.”
The volume pioneers a new approach to the study of democratisation. It does so by combining comparative and interdisciplinary analyses of South Africa, Poland, (East) Germany, South Korea and Chile, that is, five countries where a similar general thrust of democratisation is set against the most diversified cultural and historical backgrounds.
The theoretical discussion opening the volume is followed by the analyses of setting up new democratic institutions, the functioning of parties and electoral systems and an empirical assessment of citizens’ support for democracy as an ideal and a form of government. The book goes on to explore the character of civil society in each of the countries studied within the broad notion of social capital and with a particular focus on trust and tolerance. It then looks at the development of economic policies and performance in the context of democratic consolidation. The last section centres on historical memory and historical culture both when dealing with a haunting past and in relation to collective identity.
The closing chapter utilises a variety of indicators and computer-aided tools to identify the main areas of strengths and weaknesses of the five polities and to speculate about their future fortunes.
Prof. Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Faculty of Social Sciences and Philosophy, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany
Prof. Hans-Dieter Klingemann, Director of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris, France
Prof. Jörn Rüsen, President of Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut, Essen, Germany
Dr. Susanne Fuchs, Theodor Heuss Lecturer, Department of Sociology, New School University, USA
Prof. Edmund Wnuk-Lipinski, Chairman, Scientific Council of the Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Dr. Radek Markowski, Head of the Electoral Studies Section, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland
Prof. Marek Ziolkowski, Sociology Department, Poznan, Poland
Prof. Philip Mohr, Professor of Economics, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Prof. Hennie Kotze, Dean, Faculty of Arts at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Prof. Bernard Lategan, Director of Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), South Africa
Prof. Pierre du Toit, Department of Political Science, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
Dr Jorge Heine, Ambassador of Chile to India
Prof. Ursula J. van Beek, Head: Transformation Research Initiative (TRI), Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Van Beek and her associates have produced a major, even a seminal, volume.
European Poltitical Sciences, December 2010
… an important contribution to the study of democratisation, … for its novel perspective as well as the scope and depth of its case studies.
All in all, the study impresses…
Steffen Kaiitz, University of Chemnitz, German Politics
This book fully lives up to the distinguished reputation (of its authors). The book is admirably clearly written, theoretically astute and offers interseting insights into well-established paradigms as well as original, empirically based, observations. … Thus the book is an extremely valuable and innovative addition to the ever-growing regime transition and cosolidation literature.
Daunis Auers (University of Latvia) in Political Studies Review