“History… is far too important a topic to be left just to historians,” wrote Dankwart Rustow. The methods, techniques, and theories of political science are meant to have relevance in any historical era. So it is refreshing to hear Agnes Cornell and Svend-Erik Skaaning discuss democracy during the interwar period. They examine the critical period between two world wars as political scientists (along with Jørgen Møller) using a combination of statistical analysis and case studies in their new book Democratic Stability in an Age of Crisis: Reassessing the Interwar Period.
The conversation explains the reasons why many democracies proved successful during these years. Many key concepts are discussed such as the importance of civil society, democratic legacies, and party system institutionalization. Their study incorporates the fate of Latin American countries alongside the traditional examination of Europe. Successful outliers like Czechoslovakia and Finland are considered. Like always the conversation blends research, historical examples, current events, and political theory into a sophisticated, but accessible discussion.
Agnes Cornell is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Gothenburg. Svend-Eric Skaaning is Professor of Political Science, Aarhus University. Along with Jørgen Møller they are the authors of Democratic Stability in an Age of Crisis: Reassessing the Interwar Period from Oxford University Press.
Listen at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher or wherever you find your podcasts. You can find Democratic Stability in an Age of Crisis: Reassessing the Interwar Period at Amazon or your local library. The music of Apes of the State is featured in the introduction and outro . You can find their music on Spotify or Bandcamp.