Philippe C. Schmitter
European University Institute, Florence, Italy.

Recent Developments in the Academic Study of Democratization: Lessons for Albania from "Transitology" and "Consolidology".

Place: Chateau Linza, Tirana, Albania
Date: July 14, 2000


Until relatively recently (i.e. the mid-1970s), academic students of democratization believed quite firmly that a democratic political regime was the outcome of a lengthy, complex and unique historical transformation. Only a fortunate countries could ever become democratic and, then, only after they had managed to fulfill a long list of necessary requisites. The rest of the world's polities were condemned to various forms of autocracy for what were considered good and enduring cultural, economic and/or geostrategic reasons. Only once these non-democracies had passed through a long colonial apprenticeship, attained a substantial level of capitalist development, separated religious from secular authority, invented an appropriately civic political culture, and asserted the rule of law did any of them stand a chance of institutionalizing "the accountability of rulers to citizens acting indirectly through the cooperation and competition of their representatives" - to apply a generic definition of "modern, liberal, political democracy" developed by Terry Karl and myself. Of course, there were a few exceptions - India, Costa Rica, Botswana - but they could easily be "explained away" as the product of exceptional circumstances.

Biographical note:

Philippe C. Schmitter is professor of political science at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He has published many books and articles on comparative politics, on regional integration in Western Europe and Latin America, on the transition from authoritarian rule in Southern Europe and Latin America, and on the intermediation of class, sectoral and professional interests. His current work is on the political characteristics of the emerging Euro-polity, on the consolidation of democracy in Southern and Eastern countries, and on the possibility of post-liberal democracy in Western Europe and North America.

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