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Stateness and Democracy in East Asia
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Book description

Democratization and state building are fundamental political processes, yet scholars cannot agree on which process should be prioritized in order to put countries on a positive path of institutional development. Where much of the existing literature on the state-democracy nexus focuses on quantitative cross-national data, this volume offers a theoretically grounded regional analysis built around in-depth qualitative case studies. The chapters examine cases of successful democratic consolidation (South Korea, Taiwan), defective democracy (Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor), and autocratic reversal (Cambodia, Thailand). The book's evidence challenges the dominant 'state first, democracy later' argument, demonstrating instead that stateness is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for democratic consolidation. The authors not only show that democratization can become trapped in path-dependent processes, but also that the system-level organization of informal networks plays a key role in shaping the outcome of democratic transitions.

Reviews

‘Croissant and Hellmann have assembled an impressive volume around a theme of immense scholarly and practical importance - namely, the relationship between state capacity and democracy. Together, the chapters in this volume offer a nuanced view of the way in which state capacity and democracy interact and co-evolve in a variety of country contexts.'

Allen Hicken - University of Michigan

‘By focusing on the state-democracy nexus, this volume unpacks the various theoretical and conceptual relationships between stateness and democratic consolidation. Drawing on a collection of empirically rich case studies of democratic transitions in Asia, the authors inductively generate new insights into the complicated and varied pathways to and from democracy. Hellmann and Croissant have put together a refreshing take on democracy in a region where political reform is tenuous and a moment in the world when democracy's prospects are fraught.'

Joseph Wong - University of Toronto

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