Identity Formation in Political Theory

What is Identity? In recent years politics has become a contestation between different forms of identity rather than interests. Identity has an almost ideological connotation. It is easy to become lost in emotions and hyperbole without any awareness of its actual role in political theory. Indeed, the earliest political philosophers did not mention identity at... Continue Reading →

The State and Institutional Overlap

Military Coups On February 1st, the Tatmadaw arrested the Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, many other politicians from the National League of Democracy, and declared a state of emergency. The Tatmadaw has formally held power in Myanmar between 1988 and 2011. But it also held power informally as early as 1962. The recent... Continue Reading →

Jan-Werner Müller on Democracy Rules

Jan-Werner Müller joins the podcast to discuss his new book Democracy Rules. He is a professor of social sciences at Princeton University and the author of the well-known book What is Populism?   It really matters how you set up conflict and how you talk about the issue and above all how you talk about your adversary.... Continue Reading →

Norms in Democracies, Autocracies, and Institutions

Norms and Institutions The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) became law in 1996. It refused to recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level and allowed states to ignore marriage contracts between same-sex couples from other states. The law was never repealed, but was effectively overturned after the Supreme Court Decision Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015.... Continue Reading →

Political Authority Explained

Why Do Bad Leaders Stay in Power? Last month Aleksandr Lukashenko intercepted a European airliner and ordered it to land in Minsk so he could arrest the dissident journalist, Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend. The plane had not planned to land in Minsk nor had it planned to fly over Belarusian airspace. Belarus used a... Continue Reading →

An Introduction to Political Institutions

Very Brief History of Democracy Promotion The world changed in 1989. Eastern Europe began a process of political liberalization and democratization. A few years later, the Soviet Union collapsed. Fifteen new states emerged from its ashes. The third wave of democratization accelerated as many new nations faced new pressures to liberalize their political and economic... Continue Reading →

Conservative Democracy

Conservatism Reimagined Let me be clear: Conservative democracy is not an illiberal democracy. Indeed, a conservative democracy is a liberal democracy. Let me explain. Democratization depends on liberals, but its consolidation depends on conservatives. A conservative democracy is likely an incomplete democracy, but at the same time it guarantees widespread support for democracy. Now, plenty... Continue Reading →

Thoughts on Robert Dahl’s Polyarchy

Robert Dahl developed the concept of polyarchy to describe democracy as a political regime type. But it also implies liberal democracy has room to become even more democratic. This is the ninth part of the Democracy Paradox, a comprehensive theory of democracy. The Significance of Robert Dahl Nobody has thought more about democracy than Robert... Continue Reading →

Does Liberalism Unfold Democracy or Constrain it?

Liberalism and Democracy have a long history. Most theorists now refer to liberal democracy as a more complete form of democracy, but the role of liberalism is rarely clarified. Is it a counterweight to democracy or its cornerstone? This is the eight part of the Democracy Paradox, a comprehensive theory of democracy. Liberalism and Democracy... Continue Reading →

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