Methodology: Book reviews
== Notes ==
* Looking at why all the states of Western Europe democratized between 1848 & 1921
* Prevalent explanations don’t seem to hold – according to the research, Western Europe’s first-wave democracies were highly susceptible to breakdown, yet only four did. How can this be explained?
* Mann: importance of geomilitary competition in addition to the more familiar forces of class conflict, nationalism, and political reform
* Rueschemeyer, Stephens, and Stephes: Attempt to confirm and extend Moores’ insights on the social origins of dictatorship and democracy by amending his key contentions and testing them on 38 cases
* Berins Collier and Mahoney: Favour an account that stresses the significance of political entrepreneurship and middle-class as well as working-class pressure.
* Lueberrt: It was the ability or inability of prodemocratic political parties to form stable majorities which ultimately determined the fate of democracy in a particular country.
=== 1. Michael Mann ===
* Geopolitical competition is the new master variable – War and preparations for war continued to shape the way in which these new forces affected the various European powers.
* The continued dynamic of geopolitical and industrial competition, combined with the emergence of classes and nations, resulted in what Mann terms “the rise of the modern state.”
* The state was able to mold its citizens into a national community thanks to increasing social interaction
* Though they arrived there on different paths, both France and Britain entered the 20th century as democratic, bureaucratized, advanced industrial states possessed of substantial military capacities clearly subordinated to civilian authority. (481)
* The path followed by each Western European country was at once historically unique, yet shaped by the same general forces of class conflict, nation building and nationalism, and diplomatic and military rivalry that are best understood with the help of social science theory.
* This is not a parsimonious account, and it could imply that Western Europe’s experience with democratization is of little or no relevance to that of other regions.
=== 2. Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens on Democratization ===
* Looking for the general causal mechanism that underlies the positive correlation between development and democracy
* They start with Moore, modified to account for Skocpol’s critique (as well as their own)
* Economic development favors democracy, they argue, because it tends to weaken the economic, and hence political, position of antidemocratic large landowners and strengthen that of the prodemocratic working and middle classes.
* Importantly, they focus on how important multiclass movements were (in contrast to Marx and Moore, and their own contention that it was the working class that was the primary responsible force).
=== 3. Berns Collier and Mahoney’s Critique ===
* They argue against Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens that “The hypothesis that the working class was central in early transitions to democracy is not supported by the first wave cases.
* Working class played at best a collaborative role
* Why has this explanation been some prominent? Because exclusion from political rights was done along class lines, “since the workers as a whole had the most to gain from full democratization, it seemed logical to assume that they would be the driving force behind this process.”
** This overestimates the size of the working class and the strength of its institutions
* Alternative explanation put forth is that democracy was the product of intra-elite struggle
* Berns Collier and Mahoney do not provide an answer for why a country took one road to democracy rather than another, but they succeed in refuting in a most convincing way the notion that one class or fixed combination of classes can claim to be the principal carrier of democracy.
=== 4. Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens on Democratic Breakdown and Survival ===
* Why did democracy prove irreversible in some countries, but not others during the interwar period?
* Answer: It was the absence of a politically powerful landed elite which permitted democracy to survive in eight states – Conversely, it was the presence of such an elite, allied with antidemocratic elements within the state apparatus, that was responsible for fascist triumphs in Europe and Japan.
* However, their argument is not convincing (and doesn’t explain Britain)
* Rather than support the Moore thesis, Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens have demonstrated something different: the process of democratic transition, survival, and breakdown in Europe is too complex to be accounted for adequately within the classical frameworks offered by Marx or Moore.
=== 5. Luebbert ===
* Rather than attempting to explain the origins of dictatorship and democracy across a number of disparate regions, he concentrates on explaining the outcomes found in interwar Europe.
* Four possible outcomes
** Liberal democracy
** Social democracy
** Traditional Dictatorship
* For Luebbert, the claim made by Moore and Rueschemeyer, Stephens and Stephens – that it was the presence or absence of a powerful landed elite dependent on a friendly state that determined whether democracy failed or survived during the interwar years – is empirically flawed.
** No correlation exists between the size of the dependent agricultural labor force (and hence the degree of landlords’ dependence on the state to protect them against their agricultural workers) and regime outcome.
** Economic control on the part of landed elites did not necessarily mean control over voting behavior
** Support for fascism among peasants was strongest precisely in those areas not dominated by large landowners
* He does agree that classes are fundamental actors, but does not agree that they should be employed as the sole unit of political analysis
* Luebbert’s underlying contention is that democracy survived during the interwar period in 8 Western European states because during the crisis-filled years after 1929, either the middle classes gave their votes to prodemocratic parties or workers and farmers were able to cooperate to defend the political system, whereas it failed in three others because the middle classes and farmers threw their support behind antidemocratic forces.
** Still, begs the question as to why parties and voters behaved the way they did.
=== 6. An Alternative Approach: Associational Life, Parties, and Party-Center Politics ===
* Rather than focusing exclusively on working-class incorporation before 1914 as the key independent variable in accounting for interwar party strength and behaviour, we must “bring civil society back in” and examine instead the relationship between associational life and political parties in our twelve cases during that time period.
* Literature implies that political change and the character of civil society in late-nineteenth century Europe interacted with one another to produce the distinctive patterns in the relationship between political parties and associational life that underlay divergent interwar outcomes.
* Emergent parties found themselves faced with diverse and well-organized civil societies, so they sought to forge ties with them – but the resulting overlap between the associational and party landscapes was far from perfect.
* This was ultimately a good thing, as it allowed individual groups to organize across party and class lines, it also forced the parties to remain pragmatic and flexible in their positions.
* One will not find a parsimonious, generalizable explanation for the durability of democracy in some European cases and not others in a class-coalitional analysis, nor will one find it in a historical-genealogical analysis. A better chance of success is offered by a new approach which focuses on variations in the relationship between associational life and political parties across Europe during this period.