The Aftermath of Dictatorships: Varieties of Transitions

Posted: March 15th, 2023

1) In 200 words, sum up the main thesis and arguments of two readings on “The Aftermath of Dictatorships: Varieties of Transitions”.

2) In 200 words, make and support one point.

Essay writing service:
  • Excellent quality
  • 100% Turnitin-safe
  • Affordable prices




THE current wave of scholarly studies of democratization and political transition is not fully comparative. Conceptually, these studies employ

models of political change that are useful in explaining the demise of bureaucratic forms of authoritarianism but cannot account for transitions from more personalistic types of rule. Empirically, entire regions of the world are excluded. Whereas most studies of democratization have focused on Latin America and Southern Europe and latterly on Eastern Europe, Africa has received much less attention. In this article, we examine recent patterns of political change in Africa and on that basis propose revisions to the theory of political transitions.

Africa is not immune from the global challenge to authoritarianism. Between 1990 and 1993 more than half of Africa’s fifty-two governments responded to domestic and international pressures by holding competitive presidential or legislative elections. The dynamics and outcomes of these transitions have been highly variable: in some cases, a competitive election has led to an alternation of political leaders and the emergence of a fragile democratic regime; more often the transition has been flawed (with the incumbent stealing the election), blocked (with the incumbents and oppo- sition deadlocked over the rules of the political game), or precluded (by widespread civil unrest).1 While democratization is clearly incomplete in Africa, it has already discredited military and one-party regimes, few of which are likely to survive intact. And recent African experience poses

* This article was prepared with support from National Science Foundation Grant no. SBR- 9309215 and an All-University Research Initiation Grant from Michigan State University. Van de Walle gratefully acknowledges additional support from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Research assistance was provided by John Davis and Sangmook Kim. Useful comments on earlier drafts were received from Robert Ayres, Naomi Chazan, Larry Diamond, Rene Lemarchand, Dean McHenry, Donald Rothchild, and Richard Snyder. Any remaining errors can be attributed to the authors.



Argument: According to Huntington, the four waves of democratization occurred in the following time periods: the first wave (1828-1926), the second wave (1943-1962), the third wave (1974-1990), and the fourth wave (beginning in 2000). He argues that each wave was triggered by a different set of factors, such as changes in the international system, economic growth and social mobilization, and the collapse of authoritarian regimes. Furthermore, each wave of democratization was characterized by different types of political institutions and practices, such as the emergence of mass political parties, the establishment of free and fair elections, and the development of civil society.

Expert paper writers are just a few clicks away

Place an order in 3 easy steps. Takes less than 5 mins.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price: