SEMINAR ON PROBLEMS IN COMPARATIVE POLITICS
(Democratization, New Institutionalism, Civil Society Revisited, Stateness, Nationalism, Path Dependent Analysis, the Simultaneity Debate)

Alfred Stepan
Winter Trimester 1996
Department of Political Sciences
CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY



Office Hours:
After the seminar I will normally stay in the seminar room for 30 minutes to handle any general inquiries about the seminar or special inquiries about your next week's presentations. From 12:30 to 1:30 I will be in my office, in Nador 101, for individual consultation. On most Tuesdays I will have office hours from 5:00 - 6:30. If CEU Rector's business takes me out of town that week (we have CEU activities in Prague, Warsaw and Moscow), I will notify the seminar members and set other times. Also, please give your individual e-mail addresses to my research assistant Myra Waterbury so that she can inform you of any last minute changes.

Style of the Seminar:
This is a graduate seminar. I will give an opening presentation of approximately 50 minutes at every meeting. After a short coffee break, we will then have a seminar discussion in the final hour and a half. The required reading must be read by all seminar members to ensure a good group discussion. During the course of the seminar, each participant will make two, ten to fifteen minute presentations, which must be deposited in the political science office by 3:00 pm on the Friday before our seminar meets. After each seminar, the paper presenters should meet with me privately to discuss your papers. This is best done between 12:30 to 1:30 on Mondays.

Requirements of the Course:
This seminar is two trimesters long. The Winter trimester is a reading and research seminar. The Spring trimester will be run as a workshop devoted to the analysis of the students' own research projects. Probably 5 - 6 members of the seminar will present their M.A. thesis research in progress. The other members will read, comment, and suggest revisions. The seminar is designed to be highly inter-active and to give you a chance to develop your oral, and especially written, ability to marshal analytical arguments concerning comparative politics generally and specifically modern democratic theory and practice. Thirty percent of your grade will be based on the quality of your oral participation in seminar discussions, thirty percent on your short written presentations to the seminar, and forty percent on your final paper of approximately 15 pages.

Your final paper should be deposited at our last seminar on Monday, March 11. I will then meet with you privately and give you suggestions for improving the paper. Criticism, rethinking and rewriting are crucial to scholarly development for students and professors alike. We will have a dinner party at my house on Thursday, March 14 from 7:00 - 10:30. There we will review everyone's paper but we will give special attention to those papers which will provide the core of students' M.A. theses.

Admission to the Seminar:
Unfortunately the inter-active writing and rewriting goals of this graduate course cannot be achieved if there are more than fifteen members of the seminar. If more than fifteen people want to take the seminar, I will choose the members based on a two page statement of your theoretical and empirical research interests. Deposit this statement in my box in Political Science by 9:00 am Thursday, January 18th. A list of the members of the session will be posted by 4:00 pm on Friday, January 19th.

All required reading will be contained in the reader that will be distributed to each member of the seminar. I will occasionally list "to go further" reading for the benefit of those of you who might want to read further for class presentations or final research papers. Most of the "to go further" reading will be on closed reserve in the library.

Please keep an eye on the bulletin boards for talks by visitors. Many distinguished social scientists will visit the CEU in the next few months. These include Archie Brown and Ronald Dworkin in March, Ken Jowit in May, Timothy Garton Ash, Juan Linz, Stephen Lukes, Alexander Smolar and Will Kymlicka in June.

Some Possible Background Reading for the Course (Optional)
On the basis of my reading of past M.A. theses in Political Science at the CEU, I believe that more attention should have been given to the methodology of question formulation and research design. During your vacation before this course you might want to read two state of the art works on comparative research. Multiple copies of both books are in the library.

Gary King, Robert O. Keohane and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. (Princeton University Press, 1994). For a debate about this book see "Review Symposium: The Qualitative - Quantitative Disputation", American Political Science Review (June 1995), pp. 454 - 481.
For a single county study that employs horizontal and longitudinal comparison to excellent effect see Robert D. Putnam, Making Democracy Work: Civic Tradition in Modern Italy (Princeton University Press, 1993). Copies are in the library.
Most of the M.A. theses could have also benefited by greater knowledge of democratization in other parts of the world. The most recent literature on democratic consolidation in Southern Europe is found in Richard Gunther, P. Nikiforos Diamandouros and Hans-Jürgen Puhle, eds., The Politics of Democratic Consolidation: Southern Europe in Comparative Perspective (John Hopkins University Press, 1995). Copies are on order for the library. If they are not in yet, my personal copy is available.
A book that critiques the neo-liberal approach to democratization and offers alternatives is Adam Przeworski, et al, Sustainable Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 1995). Copies are on order for the library. Again, my personal copy is available if needed.

Weekly Topics and Readings

Tuesday, January 16, 1996 5:00 - 6:30 Senate Room

Organizational meeting of the seminar.

Monday, January 22


What is democracy? How does it begin? What are its arenas? How can it be consolidated?

Required reading:
A seminal early work on 19th century Western transitions is Dankwart A. Rustow, "Transitions to Democracy: Toward a Dynamic Model," Comparative Politics, (April, 1970), pp. 337 - 363.
According to a major democratic theorist, Robert A. Dahl, any democracy, if it is to remain a democracy, must have eight institutional guarantees. See his classic Polyarchy: Participation and Opposition (Yale University Press, 1971), pp. 1 - 16.
Also see Phillipe C. Schmitter and Terry Karl, "What Democracy is... and is not." Journal of Democracy (Summer 1991), pp. 39 - 52.
An attempt to establish the criteria of a "completed democratic transition" and a "consolidated democracy", as well as to discuss the five mutually reinforcing arenas of a consolidated democracy (civil society, political society, a usable state, rule of law and economic society) is found in Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan, "Democracy and its Arenas," in our forthcoming book Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation: Southern Europe, South America and Post Communist Europe (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), Chapter 1, pp. 1 - 16. Three copies of the entire manuscript are on closed reserve in the library.

Monday, January 29

What are the Major Types of Modern Democracies?

Required reading:
The dominant form of parliamentary government is not the Westminster (British) model, and certainly not the U.S. presidential model, but what the Dutch political scientist Arend Lijphart calls the "consensus model" found in most Western European countries. He spells out the dominant characteristics of the Westminster and "consensus models" in his widely cited Democracies: Patterns of Majoritarian and Consensus Government in Twenty-One Countries.(Yale University Press, 1984), pp. 1 - 36.
Many of the countries in post-communist Europe are not actually homogenous "nation-states", but states with large minorities or even with more than one nation in the territory of the state. One of the ways that a number of long-standing democracies such as Belgium (a country some people describe as having two nations living in one state) manage diversity and respect for minority rights is via what has come to be called "consociational practices". The most important initial discussion of "consociational democracy" is Arend Lijphart's article of the same name in World Politics 21 (January 1969), pp. 44 - 59.
An extreme form of plebiscitary democracy has recently been theorized by an important Argentine social scientist as "delegative democracy", Journal of Democracy, (January 1994), pp. 55 - 69.

Monday, February 5

Do Institutions Matter? (I) Constitutional Choices in New Democracies: Presidentialism, Parliamentarianism, and Semi-Presidentialism

Required reading:
One of the major debates in modern political science concerns the comparative weight of institutions. A seminal article that recontextualized the debate is James G. March and Johan P. Olsen, "The New Institutionalism: Organizational Factors in Political Life," American Political Science Review, vol. 78 (1984), pp. 734 - 749.
For a sustained argument that, all things being equal, parliamentarianism contributes to democratic consolidation and that presidentialism and semi-presidentialism complicate democratic consolidation, see the influential work by Juan J. Linz, "Presidential or Parliamentary Democracy: Does it Make a Difference?" in Juan J. Linz and Arturo Valenzuela, eds., The Failure of Presidential Democracy: Comparative Perspectives (The John Hopkins University Press, 1994), pp. 3 - 87. Read pages 48 - 61 on semi-presidentialism lightly because we will read them again next week when we discuss semi-presidentialism.
For a review of the available empirical evidence and a theoretical analysis of the results, see Alfred Stepan and Cindy Skatch, "Constitutional Frameworks and Democratic Consolidation: Parliamentarianism and Presidentialism," World Politics, vol. 46 (October 1993), pp. 1 - 22. This article is also available in Juan J. Linz and Arturo Valenzuela, eds., The Failure of Presidential Democracy: Comparative Perspectives (The John Hopkins University Press, 1994), pp. 119 - 136.

To go further:
For a much more sceptical view of parliamentarianism than that provided by Linz or Stepan-Skatch, see Giovanni Sartori, "Neither Presidentialism nor Parliamentarianism", in the previously cited Linz-Valenzuela edited volume, pp. 106 - 118.
Also see the critique of Linz by D. Horowitz, "Debate: Presidents vs. Parliaments: Comparing Democratic Systems," Journal of Democracy (Fall 1990), pp. 73 - 83.

Monday, February 12

Do Institutions matter? (II) Semi-Presidentialism

Most post-communist countries (and all of the non-Baltic countries of the former Soviet Union) have chosen semi-presidentialism. What special conditions allowed semi-presidentialism to work quite effectively for most of the time in the French Fifth Republic? In which of the post-communist countries are comparable conditions present?

Required reading:
Juan J. Linz, "Presidential or Parliamentary Democracy: Does it Make a Difference?" pp. 48 - 61. ( In the previous week's readings.)
For a discussion of the special conditions that allowed semi-presidentialism to work reasonably well in France see Ezra N. Suleiman, "Presidentialism and Political Stability in France" in the previously cited Linz-Valenzuela volume, pp. 137 - 162.
For a more sanguine view of presidentialism in the new post-communist setting, see Stephen Holmes, "The Post-Communist Presidency," East European Constitutional Review (Fall 1993/Winter 1994), pp. 36 - 40.

To go further:
The Fall 1993/Winter 1994 issue of the CEU related East European Constitutional Review is a special double issue devoted to the post-communist presidency. Three copies have been placed on closed reserve for our course. Some of the documents from the review's project on constitutionalism are available via internet from the University of Chicago. Send an e-mail request to "cscee@lawnext.uchicago.edu". Also see Christian Lucky in COLPI who is one of the editors of the East European Constitutional Review. If you are writing your M.A. thesis on constitutionalism three great scholars of constitutionalism who will be in the CEU in the Spring are Andras Sajo (Legal Studies), Wiktor Osiatynski (University Professor) and Stephen Holmes, the new head of COLPI.

Possible student presentations:

If the country in which you are a citizen has recently adopted a semi-presidential constitution, please consider making a presentation today. Your paper might contain a close analysis of the president's prerogatives in the constitution and an analysis of actual practice. If the actual practice of presidential powers exceeds the constitution, what explains this? What are the consequences for democratic consolidation? You might want to compare the formal powers of the president in your country with those the French Fifth Republic. If so, read Matthew Soberg Shugart and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge University Press, 1992), pp. 148 - 167. Replicate table 8.2 and figure 8.2.

Monday, February 19

Reconceptualizing the Roles of Civil Society and Political Society from the Perspective of Achieving Democratic Consolidation: Reflections from Poland

Required reading:
Jerzy Szacki, Liberalism after Communism (Budapest and London: CEU Press, 1995), pp. 73 - 118.
Alexsander Smolar, "Civil Society in Post-Communist Europe," paper prepared for the International Conference on "Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies: Trends and Challenges," Taipei, August 27 - 30, 1995.
Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stepan, " 'Authoritarian Communism', 'Ethical Civil Society', 'Ambivalent Civil Society': Poland," chapter 16 in the previously cited Linz-Stepan book.

To go further:
Philippe C. Schmitter, "On Civil Society and the Consolidation of Democracy: Ten General Propositions and Nine Speculations about their Relation in Asian Societies." Paper presented at the International Conference on "Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies: Trends and Challenges," Taipei, August 27 - 30, 1995.

Possible paper:

Read some of the classic works on civil society in opposition such as Havel, Michnik or Konrad and discuss what, if any, role they assign to democratic governance or, what might be called "political society" in a future democratic society. Develop your own theory about a positive relationship between civil society and political society in a country not yet democratically consolidated. What would help, or hurt, consolidation? Put two countries into this framework.

Monday, February 26

"Stateness" Problems (I): Comparative Research on Integration vs. Disintegration (Spain vs. USSR)

Required reading:
W. Rogers Brubaker, "Nationhood and the National Question in the Soviet Union and Post-Soviet Eurasia: An Institutional Account," Theory and Society, 23 (1994), pp. 47 - 78.
Arend Lijphart, "The Puzzle of Indian Democracy: A Re-interpretation" (35 pages, 1994 draft manuscript). He extends his argument on "Westminster" vs. Consociational democracies which you read for January 29.
Using the criteria developed in Chapter 1 of the Linz-Stepan book, the USSR never 'democratized' but it 'liberalized' in such a way as to blow up the state and to complicate further the tasks of democratization. In contrast, Spain democratized and re-crafted the state. Read Linz and Stepan, Chapter 6 "The Paradigmatic Case of 'Reforma - Pactada, Ruptura - Reforma': Spain" and Chapter 19, "The Problem of 'Sateness' and Transition: USSR and Russia".

Possible presentations:

Possibly a Croatian, Serbian or Bosnian could jointly discuss Yugoslavia's past, present and future from the 'stateness' perspective. Were the wars avoidable? Could a Slovak and a Czech jointly discuss the 'velvet divorce'? Are there members of the seminar whose government is pursuing what Brubaker would call 'nationalizing policies', in a de facto, multinational state? Are there feasible democratic alternatives? If someone from the former Soviet Union would like to contest or refine the Linz-Stepan chapters this could be a good opportunity.

Monday, March 4

"Stateness" Problems (II): The Need for New Theories and Practices if Nation-States and Democracy are Conflicting Logics

The classic literature on democratic transition and consolidation is based on southern Europe and Latin America and is virtually silent on the issue of nationalism and in particular the range of people or peoples (demos and demoi) constituting the state. Likewise, the two most influential writers on nationalism (Ernest Gellner and Benedict Andersen) are not really concerned with democracy. Our task is to think creatively about demos/polity relationships. Under what conditions are democracy and the nation-state compatible logics? Under what conditions are they conflicting logics? If they are conflicting logics, what types of democratic systems are most, and least, feasible?

Required reading:
Unfortunately modern liberal theorists of rights have contributed relatively little to creating a normative or conceptual approach to help us think about this major problem. For a new and important attempt see Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights (Oxford University Press, 1995), pp. 34 - 74.
Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism, Chapter 1.
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities, Chapter 1.
Linz and Stepan, Chapter 2 " 'Stateness', Nationalism and Democratization" and Chapter 20 "When Democracy and the State are Conflicting Logics: Estonia and Latvia".

Possible presentations:

It would be nice to have one or two "paired" presentations today. Possibly a Russian and an Estonian or Latvian could jointly discuss citizenship problems in Estonia or Latvia. If someone in the seminar is potentially interested in the political theory of liberalism as it concerns a collective rights, a discussion of Kymlicka and the important book by the Oxford philosopher Joseph Raz, The Morality of Freedom, would make an excellent seminar paper which you could try out today.

Monday, March 11

Democratization: The Simultaneity Debate

Required reading:
Jon Elster, "The Necessity and Impossibility of Simultaneous Economic and Political Reform", in Douglas Greenberg, Stanley N. Katz, Melanie Beth Oliviero and Steven C. Wheatley, eds., Constitutionalism and Democracy: Transition in the Contemporary World, pp. 267 - 274.
For a contrary view that makes the case for multiple time horizons and the possibility of a "politics of patience" see László Bruszt, "Why on Earth Would East Europeans Support Capitalism?", a revised version of a paper given at the International Political Science Association Meeting in Berlin, August 1994.
For a pioneering analysis of data drawn from 135 countries see Adam Przeworski, with Michael Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub and Fernando Limongi, "Economic and Institutional Conditions of Durability of Democracy, 1950 - 1990", paper presented at the International Conference on "Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies: Trends and Challenges," Taipei, August 27 - 30, 1995.
Linz and Stepan, "Post-Communist Europe: Concluding Comparative Reflections," Chapter 21. (For comparative data on Southern Europe see the conclusion to part 2 in the above book.)

To go further:
An invaluable source of information on the view of ordinary citizens toward democracy is in the New Democracies Barometer. This is an annual survey of attitudes toward democracy in about a dozen post-communist countries. Consult Richard Rose and Christian Haerpfer, "Adopting to Transformation in Eastern Europe: New Democracies Barometer - II", Studies in Public Policy, no. 212, (1993) and their "New Russia Barometer III: the Results," Studies in Public Policy, no. 228, (1994).

Possible presentations and research projects:

At least two seminar members should analyse and discuss the Rose and Haerpfer project in this session. By the way, Rose and Haerpfer have told me that you can do secondary analysis of their results which you can obtain by internet or by a visit to the Lazarsfeld Society in Vienna.

We are fortunate to have in the CEU political science department two of the leading public opinion specialists in the region: Gabor Toka and László Bruszt. If you are interested in public opinion polls be sure to work with Bruszt and Toka for your Master's thesis. Bruszt and Toka have administered major surveys whose results are now being released. Comparative polls for democratization in Southern Europe and South America now exist. A three region comparison would be pioneering. You could do it by secondary analysis. If you are interested, tell me and I will give you further information.

After establishing the criteria of democratic consolidation in Chapter 1 of the Linz-Stepan manuscript, we evaluated seven countries of Southern Europe or South America using these criteria. A member of the seminar might consider a comparable exercise for at least two of the post-communist countries. Please feel free, of course, to criticize or modify our criteria or to substitute your own.

Thursday, March 14 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm

Student Presentations at the Rector's Home

Your final paper was due at our seminar on Monday, March 11. Today we will have a mega-seminar (and a minor dinner party), during which at least three seminar members will, in no more that 10 minutes each, tell the class what they consider their most important conclusions, and also what intellectual problems are still unresolved. This should be a valuable opportunity for peer input. Each paper presented this evening will have a student discussant who will have read your paper and will offer a ten minute critique concerning possible re-write directions. Those students whose papers are being discussed this evening must submit two copies of their papers, one marked for Professor Stepan and one with the name of your discussant at our last seminar session on Monday, March 11.

Remember: After the Spring break, please schedule at least a half hour appointment with me so that I can give you detailed comments on your paper. This is particularly important if your course paper relates to your Master's thesis.

Possible Topics for the Spring Trimester

Post-communist Europe: Does Prior Regime Type Make a Difference?

Required reading:
Claus Offe, "Capitalism by Democratic Design? Democratic Theory facing the Triple Transition in East Central Europe," Social Research, vol. 58, no. 4 (Winter 1991), pp. 885 - 892.
Jacques Rupnick, "Totalitarianism Revisited" in John Keane, ed., Civil Society and the State, pp. 263 - 289.
Linz-Stepan, "Modern Non-Democratic Regimes," Chapter 3, and "Transition Paths and Consolidation Tasks: Comparative Implications of Prior Regime Type," Chapter 4.

To go further:
Adam Przeworski, Democracy and the Market: Political and Economic Reform in Eastern Europe and Latin America.

The Need to Re-think Neo-liberal State-bashing: General Theory (with some Brazilian reflections)

Required reading:
Guillermo O'Donnell, "On the State, Democratization and some Conceptual Problems (A Latin American View with Glances at some Post-Communist Countries)", World Development 21 (1993) pp. 1355-1369.
Linz-Stepan, "Inter-related Crises of Efficacy, Legitimation and Democratic State 'Presence': Brazil," Chapter 10.


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