1st Edition

Democratization and Autocratization in Comparative Perspective Concepts, Currents, Causes, Consequences, and Challenges

    354 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    354 Pages 44 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides balanced, critical, and comprehensive coverage of the theories and realities of autocratization and democratization. It sketches developments in the conceptions of democracy, discusses how to distinguish between different forms of political rule, and maps the development of democracy and autocracy across space and time. The book reviews the major debates and findings about domestic and international causes and consequences of democratization and autocratization. It synthesizes theoretical models and empirical relationships based on an explicit comparative perspective which focuses on similarities and differences across countries and historical periods.

    Key features:

    • Offers a coherent framework, which students and scholars can use to grasp the literature on democratization and autocratization as a whole.

    • Includes tables and figures as well as plentiful, illustrative in-text features, including chapter summaries, text boxes, concluding bullet points, and discussion questions.

    • Fully updated to account for the recent developments within the relevant academic literature as well as global and regional patterns of democratization and autocratization.

    • A section on democracy and autocracy today, highlighting important political challenges for democracy, such as populism and polarization, and providing an overview of the level of democratic crisis in developed democracies.

    Democratization and Autocratization in Comparative Perspective will be essential reading for students and scholars of political science, democracy and democratization, comparative politics, political theory, and international relations.


    Part I: Conceptions

    1. Conceptions of Democracy from Ancient Greece to our Time

    2. Typologies of Democratic and Autocratic Regimes

    Part II: Currents

    3, Historical Processes of Democratization and Autocratization

    4. Regime Changes in the Twenty-First Century: A New Wave of Autocratization?

    Part III: Causes

    5. Deep Roots

    6. Modernization

    7. Social Forces

    8. Agency, Institutions, and Integrative Approaches

    9. International Factors

    Part IV: Consequences

    10. War, Civil Conflict, and Violent Repression

    11. Growth, Equality, Environment, and Disaster Management

    Part V: Challenges

    12. Crisis of Democracy in Developed Countries?

    Conclusions: Looking Back and Looking Forward


    Jørgen Møller is Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University. His research interests include comparative-historical methodology, international relations theory, and historical studies of representative institutions, the politics of succession, religious-lay interactions, and civil conflict. He is author/co-author of State Formation, Regime Change and Economic Development (Routledge, 2017), Democratic Stability in an Age of Crisis (OUP, 2020), The Catholic Church and European State Formation, AD 1000-1500 (OUP, 2022), and The Politics of Succession: Forging Stable Monarchies in Europe, AD 1000-1800 (OUP, 2022).

    Svend-Erik Skaaning is Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University, project manager for Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), and consultant for International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). His research interests include the definition, measurement, explanations, and effects of democracy and other governance-related issues. He is author/co-author of Requisites of Democracy (Routledge, 2011), Varieties of Democracy (CUP, 2020), Democratic Stability in an Age of Crisis (OUP, 2020), and Democracy (JHUP, 2022).

    "Whether we live under democracy or not, whether our democracies are in crisis and deliver certain goods, whether democracies are becoming autocracies, are key questions of our times. And Møller and Skaaning’s  engaging up-to-date book discusses concepts, theories and empirical analyses that help us make sense of our world. A sophisticated but accessible introduction to a complex topic by two experts in the field."

    Gerardo L. Munck, Professor of Political Science and International Relations, University of Southern California, USA

    "In Democratization and Autocratization, Svend Erik Skaaning and Jørgen Møller offer scholars and students a comprehensive, nuanced and insightful analysis of the complex and intervowen concepts of democracy and autocracy. The authors´ excellent grasp of theory, history and contemporary debates has resulted in a volume that will be a significant contribution to scholarly debates on regime theory, waves of democracy and autocracy, and the consequences of different regime forms for civil and international conflict, economic development, and equality." 

    Lise Rakner, Professor of Political Science, University of Bergen, Norway

    "The literature on democracy and autocracy has grown immensely in the last decades. It is complex, it spans several social scientific disciplines, and it draws on various sometimes very different methodologies. But this new textbook by Møller and Skaaning makes it simple to understand and joyful to experience. Being able to chart this seemingly impenetrable terrain, with attentiveness to both general patterns and historical detail, is no small feat. There is simply no other book like this out there."

    Jan Teorell, Professor of Political Science, Stockholm University, Sweden