Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics

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JHU Press, 2015 - POLITICAL SCIENCE - 257 pages
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"Focusing on regime trajectories across the former Soviet Union, Pluralism by Default posits that political competition in "new democracies" has often been grounded less in well-designed institutions, democratic leaders, or emerging civil society and more in the failure of authoritarianism. Lucan Way contends that pluralism has persisted in many cases because autocrats lack the organization, authority, or coordination to steal elections, impose censorship, repress opposition, or keep allies in line. Attention to the dynamics of this "pluralism by default" reveals a largely unrecognized contradiction in the transition process: the same factors that facilitate democratic and semi-democratic political competition may also thwart the development of stable, well-functioning democratic institutions. National divisions or weak states and parties--typically seen as impediments to democracy--can also stymie efforts to crack down on political opposition and concentrate control. Way demonstrates that the features that have made Ukraine the most democratic country in the former Soviet Union also contributed to the country's extreme dysfunction and descent into war in 2014"--

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User Review  - thcson - LibraryThing

Although the tone of this book is a bit academic, it's still a worthwhile read even for a layman. The author argues that weak state institutions may often be a more important precondition for ... Read full review


1 Introduction
2 Perestroika and the Origins of PostSoviet Pluralism by Default
3 Pluralism by Default in Ukraine
4 Pluralism by Default in Moldova
5 Authoritarian Consolidation in Belarus
6 Consolidated and Unconsolidated Authoritarianism in the Former Soviet Union
7 Conclusion
Coding Rules for Main Variables
National Identity Organizational Capacity and Regime Outcomes among PostSoviet Incumbents

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About the author (2015)

Lucan Way is an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. He is the coauthor of Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War.

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