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The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation$
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Wolfgang Merkel, Raj Kollmorgen, and Hans-Jürgen Wagener

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829911

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829911.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 22 June 2021

Transition Approaches

Transition Approaches

(p.65) Chapter 6 Transition Approaches
The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation

Julian Brückner

Oxford University Press

Actor-centred transition research is closely connected with the onset of the third wave of democracy in the mid-1970s. It challenges earlier attempts by structuralist and functionalist theories that sought to identify universal requisites of democratic rule based on the experience of established Western democracies. Regime transitions are always open-ended and different phases of successful democratization processes are not necessarily shaped by the same actors and conditions. In this chapter two main strands of the actor-centred transition paradigm are presented. Descriptive empirical transition approaches reduce complexity by subsuming frequent actor constellations under a limited number of ideal-typical modes of transition. Rational choice approaches, in turn, translate those same actor constellations into a sequence of strategic situations that predict the outcome of liberalization and democratization processes, assuming utility-maximizing behaviour on the part of relevant elites. Finally, the requirements of democratic regime consolidation that ensures persistence are discussed.

Keywords:   actor-centred, transition paradigm, liberalization, democratic transition, modes of transition, elite split, strategic action, uncertainty, elite pact, democratic consolidation

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