Democracy and Democratization

Processes and Prospects in a Changing World, Third Edition


Georg Sorensen

Third Edition • August 1, 2007 • 224 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813343808 • $35.00 USD$45.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780786733125 • $22.99 USD$22.99 CAN

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What is democracy? What are the pitfalls and the positive potentials in the growing trend toward democratization? This book examines the prospects for democracy in the world today and frames the central dilemma confronting all states touched by the process of democratization. Georg Sørensen clarifies the concept of democracy, shows its application in different contexts, and questions whether democratic advancement will continue—and if so, at what price. The consequences of democracy for economic development, human rights, and peaceful relations among countries are illuminated in both their positive and negative aspects.

This third edition includes an entirely new chapter on the promotion of democracy from the outside and current issues of state building in Iraq. Further revisions include updates to the section on the prospects of democracy in today’s world, an extended discussion of the economic performance of recently democratized countries, and an evaluation of the possibilities for further democratic consolidation. There are also new case studies, examples, and anecdotes to illustrate historical as well as contemporary instances of democratic transition.

Democracy, as Sørensen convincingly portrays it, is a value in itself as well as a potential promoter of peace, prosperity, and human well-being. But democracy is not inevitable, and actions at every level—from the individual to the international—are necessary to ensure that frail or “frozen” democracies do not flounder and that established democracies flourish.


Georg Sørensen is professor of international politics and economics at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. He has written numerous books and articles on international relations and development issues.

1. What Is Democracy?
2. Processes of Democratization
3. The Promotion of Democracy from the Outside
4. Domestic Consequences of Democracy: Growth and Welfare?
5. International Consequences of Democracy: Peace and Cooperation?
6. The Future of Democracy: Halted Progress in the South and New Challenges in the North

“Sørensen brilliantly combines the discussion of general trends and theoretical questions of Democratization with a well-informed look at specific issues in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The new edition offers more than an update. It takes up recent empirical developments as a challenge to theory building, both in the fields of IR and transition research. Sørensen observes a shift from democratic ‘transition’ to ‘standstill’ but at the same time takes note ‘that the process of popular mobilization and organisation in the struggle for democracy has reached levels not seen before.’ The book connects the analysis of the internal processes and the domestic consequences of democracy to the debate on the promotion of democracy from the outside and the international consequences of democracy. A standard text for students and scholars alike.”
—Lothar Brock and Jonas Wolff, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

“Sørensen’s book is the best introduction to the democratization literature. The new edition maintains Sørensen’s accessible style and clear prose, and adds sections covering contemporary debates about the quality of elections and the challenges of exporting democracy. It is essential reading for students and practitioners.”
—Erik S. Herron, Director, Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, and Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Kansas

Praise for previous editions:

“The book is comprehensive in scope, synthesizing an impressive range of important and complex debates in a clear, concise style.” —Ethnic Conflict

“Clear, concise, comprehensive, and at times controversial.… Useful for students exploring the intrinsic dilemmas of contemporary democratization as well as for politicians making difficult choices.” —Philippe Schmitter, Stanford University

“Sørensen’s book provides a breath of down-to-earth analysis in a discussion which is often in danger of getting caught up in its own rhetoric. It is clearly written, addresses the main issues of the recent literature, and will be particularly useful as an introductory text on democracy and democratization.” —R. J. May, Australian National University

“A handy companion for teaching and basic research. For the student, his simple and clear writing style, cogent exposition of terms and definitions, and tight logical structure of argument will be a welcome relief from the more turgid essays that often plague the landscape of introductory courses on democracy and comparative politics.” —Choice

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