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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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Phases of Transformation

Phases of Transformation

(p.585) Chapter 64 Phases of Transformation
The Handbook of Political, Social, and Economic Transformation

Wolfgang Merkel

Lea Heyne

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines system change: the interval between an autocratic system and a new consolidated democracy. This transformation can be differentiated in to three phases: (1) the end of the autocratic system, (2) the institutionalization of democracy, and (3) the consolidation of democracy. The end of an autocratic system can be caused by internal legitimacy crises as well as external forces like military conflict, and follows different courses. During the institutionalization of democracy, political actors need to manage to establish institutions and norms that maintain a balance between particular interests and the common good in order to prevent a backslide into autocracy. The consolidation of democracy starts with the adaptation of a new constitution, and takes place on four levels: (a) constitutional consolidation, (b) representative consolidation, (c) behavioural consolidation, and (d) the consolidation of civil society. A democracy consolidated on all four levels has considerable reserves of resistance to meet exogenous destabilization shocks.

Keywords:   system change, autocratic regime, democratization, institutionalization, consolidation

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