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Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies

by Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe C Schmitter, Laurence Whitehead, Cynthia J Arnson and Abraham F Lowenthal Johns Hopkins University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 120 pages
AU$63.00 NZ$65.22
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& Academics:
Political science scholars consider the four-volume work Transitions from Authoritarian Rule to be a foundational text for studying the process of democratization, specifically in those cases where an authoritarian regime is giving way to some form of democratic government. The most important of the four books is without a doubt the fourth volume, Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies, also known as 'the little green book.'

Transitions from Authoritarian Rule was the first book in any language to systematically compare the process of transition from authoritarianism across a broad range of countries. Political democracy is not the only possible outcome. Guillermo O`Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead emphasize that it's not the revolution but the transition that is critical to the growth of a democratic state. This ground-breaking insight remains highly relevant as the ramifications of the Arab Spring continue to play out.

This reissue features a new foreword by Cynthia J. Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Abraham F. Lowenthal, founding director of the Latin American Program, who wrote the original volume's foreword.

Foreword by Cynthia J. Arnson and Abraham F. Lowenthal
Foreword to the 1986 edition by Abraham F. Lowenthal
1. Introducing Uncertainty
2. Defining Some Concepts (and Exposing Some Assumptions)
3. Opening (and Undermining) Authoritarian Regimes
4. Negotiating (and Renegotiating) Pacts
5. Resurrecting Civil Society (and Restructuring Public Space)
6. Convoking Elections (and Provoking Parties)
7. Concluding (but Not Capitulating) with a Metaphor

Laurence Whitehead is a professor at Nuffield College at Oxford University.