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Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research Author(s): David Collier and Steven Levitsky Source: World

Politics, Vol. 49, No. 3 (Apr., 1997), pp. 430-451 Published by: Cambridge University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 26/08/2010 11:37
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Research Note

Conceptual Comparative

in Research



recent global wave of democratization has presented scholars with the challenge of dealing conceptually with a great diversity of THE
the new national regimes. Although regimes postauthoritarian political in Latin America, and the former communist world share Africa, Asia, of of attributes them differ many important democracy, profoundly in advanced both from each other and from the democracies industrial are not considered Indeed, many fiilly democratic. to this article argues that scholars respond by pursu challenge two the one hand, researchers On contradictory ing goals. potentially to increase in order to capture the di attempt analytic differentiation verse forms of the other hand, that have emerged. On democracy to scholars are concerned with they seek Specifically, conceptual validity. con that of conceptual arises avoid the problem when the stretching cases to is of for which, cept democracy by relevant scholarly applied countries. This standards, alternative result has been a proliferation of appropriate.1 The a number of forms, including surprising conceptual subtypes it is not


the valuable of Ruth Berins Collier, Larry Diamond, Andrew acknowledge suggestions Peter Houtzager, Marcus Kurtz, Terry Karl, David Laitin, George Lakoff, Arend Lijphart, Gerardo Munck, Guillermo O'Donnell, Michael Scott Mainwaring, Carol Medlin, James Mahoney, in the and participants Schmitter, Laura Stoker, Mark Turner, Samuel Valenzuela, Pr?tes, Philippe on in this research was Steve Levitsky's participation Berkeley Working Comparative Method. Group a and David Collier's work on this Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, supported by National at the Center for Advanced Sciences was supported by National Sci Study in the Behavioral project ence Foundation Grant no. SBR-9022192. 1 in Comparative Giovanni Sartori, "Concept Misformation Politics," American Political Science Re view 64 (December 1970); visited: Adapting (December 1993). Categories and David Collier and James E. Mahon, Jr., "Conceptual 'Stretching' Re American Political Science Review 87 in Comparative Analysis,"

* We

WorldPolitics 49 (April 1997), 430-51


involving hundreds democracy of subtypes adjectives."2 that have appeared democracy," "with


from among the Examples include "authoritarian democ democracy,"

racy," "neopatrimonial and "protodemocracy." to standardize In important democratization creasingly usage respects has


This proliferation has occurred despite the efforts by leading analysts

of the term democracy this standardization on the basis has been of procedural Yet as

definitions in the tradition of Joseph Schumpeter and Robert A. Dahl.3

successful. continued and attention has focused on an in

set of cases, the and other of subtypes proliferation innovations has continued. Hence, given the risk of growing conceptual to earlier effort the standardize confusion, usage must now conceptual structure of be supplemented the that underlies meaning by assessing diverse of the concept. on cate initiates This article this assessment, focusing qualitative recent cases of democratization at the in of the study gories4 employed to work on attention level of national regimes, with particular political to make more Latin America.5 the Our goal is twofold: comprehensible structure of the alternative of innovation strategies complex conceptual forms and to examine the trade-offs these strate among emerged Sartori's well-known of moving up and gies. We strategies begin with down a ladder of generality?strategies aimed at avoiding conceptual and increasing Because this ap differentiation, stretching respectively. cannot be used to pursue both at once, we find that scholars proach goals have often turned to other strategies: creating "diminished" subtypes of that have these diverse

democracy, "precising" the definition of democracy by adding defining

and shifting the overarching attributes, concept with which democracy to democratic is associated from democratic (for example, state). regime
2 A parallel expression, in Latin America "democracy without adjectives," appeared in debates among observers concerned with the persistence of incomplete and qualified forms of democracy. See, for instance, Enrique Krauze, Por una democracia sin adjetivos (Mexico City: Joaqu?n Mortiz/Planeta, 3 (New York: Harper, 1947); and Dahl, Polyarchy: Schumpeter, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy and Opposition (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1971). Participation 4 are the focus of this discussion, valuable quantitative in Along with the qualitative categories that itwill be pro dicators have been developed for comparing recent cases of democratization. Ultimately, in these ductive to bring together insights about the strategies of conceptual innovation employed an essential is our present concern, is to learn more alternative approaches. However, prior step, which innovations about the conceptual introduced by scholars who employ qualitative categories. 5 on advanced industrial democracies, are thus not al We primarily concerned with the literature we are an In a few examining. though this literature is important point of reference in the studies we have included recent studies of countries that are not actually part of the current episode of places, are a new democracies in the studies under but whose democratization, relatively point of comparison review, for example, Colombia. We also include a few references to other historical cases that have been used in recent scholarship as important points of analytic contrast.


432 More broadly,

the analysis examined substantive seeks here to encourage scholars to be more

careful in their definition and use of concepts. The subtypes and other
forms conceptual nents of the main often facts are, after all, generally arguments presented the author's overall characterization advancing are the "data containers" in that convey question. These about the regimes under discussion.6 these data containers adequately, manner. If one must critical compo these researchers, by of the case or cases the most salient the new in a clear

is to describe be employed

regimes and appropriate Improved

in turn, is essential for assessing the causes and description, a central is of this of which literature. consequences democracy, goal as an to outcome be treated studies have democracy explained, Many of and old and works analysis including major comparative-historical at the of "social requisites."7 Other analyses have looked on economic and of of of types democracy democracy impact specific economic income liberalization and adjustment, distribution, growth, and international conflict.8 In these studies, the results of causal assess studies ment em of democracy influenced by the meaning strongly can serve as hope that the present discussion ployed by the author.9 We a a greater that will pro and clarity of meaning step toward consistency causal relationships. vide a more adequate basis for assessing can be new

6 Sartori (fn. 1), 1039. 7 and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Jr., Social Origins ofDictatorship Making Barrington Moore, Modern World (Boston: Beacon Press, 1966); Gregory M. Luebbert, Liberalism, Fascism, or Social of the in Interwar Europe (New York: Oxford Uni Democracy: Social Classes and the Political Origins ofRegimes Rueschemeyer, Evelyne Huber Stephens, and John D. Stephens, Capi versity Press, 1991); Dietrich of Chicago and Democracy talist Development Press, 1992); Seymour Martin (Chicago: University of Democracy: and Political Legitimacy," Economic Lipset, "Some Social Requisites Development of Democracy American Political Science Review 53 (March 1959); and idem, "The Social Requisites and Keith T. Poole, 59 (February 1994); John B. Londregan Revisited," American Sociological Review "Does High Income Promote Democracy?" World Politics 49 (October 1996); and Adam Przeworski and Facts," World Politics 49 (January 1997). "Modernization: Theories and Fernando Limongi, 8 and Economic Growth," Journal of "Political Regimes and Fernando Limongi, Adam Przeworski "Political and Robert W. A. Bollen 7 (Summer Economic Perspectives 1993); Kenneth Jackman, 50 (August 1985); of Income," American Sociological Review and the Size Distribution Democracy on Economic Growth and Inequality: A Larry Sirowy and Alex Inkeles, "The Effects of Democracy 25 (Spring 1990); Karen L. Remmer,"The Review," Studies in Comparative International Development IMF Standby in Latin America, Stabilization: Politics of Economic 1954-1984," Compara Programs in tive Politics 19 (October 1986); Barbara Stailings and Robert Kaufman, eds., Debt and Democracy Latin America Press, 1989); Bruce Russett, Grasping theDemocratic Peace: (Boulder, Colo.: Westview a Post-Cold War World (Princeton: Princeton University E. Brown, Press, 1993); Michael Principles for theDemocratic Peace: An International Secu and Steven E. Miller, Sean M. Lynn-Jones, eds., Debating Frame MIT Press, 1996); Alfred Stepan and Cindy Skach, "Constitutional rity Reader (Cambridge: versus Presidentialism," World Politics 46 Parliamentarianism Consolidation: works and Democratic eds., The Failure of Presidential Democracy (Balti (October 1993); Juan J. Linz and Arturo Valenzuela, more: Johns O'Donnell, Press, 1994); and Guillermo "Delegative Democracy," University Hopkins Journal ofDemocracy 5 (January 1994). 9 See, for example, Kenneth A. Bollen and Robert W. Jackman, "Democracy, Stability, and Di (fn. 8), 15-16. chotomies," American Sociological Review 54 (August 1989), 613-16; and Russett


It merits by emphasis that these no means



are of innovation strategies conceptual on to recent democratization. research unique qualitative are found in many in the social sciences both domains, conceptual understanding issues of analytic of how qualitative researchers deal with and conceptual differentiation validity. these

and beyond.10A further goal of this article is therefore to advance the

broader basic

in Research of Democracy I.Definitions Recent Democratization

In his famous


the philoso contested analysis of "essentially concepts," con is "the argues that democracy appraisive political pher W. B. Gallie one finds endless over excellence.'m cept par disputes Correspondingly, and the of definition. Gallie's However, meaning goal appropriate not to underscore is the of such disputes, importance analysis simply but con status of a of the contested that a recognition given its the of each within cept opens understanding meaning possibility own framework. With to he reference argues that "politics democracy, art of the the will be raised or low democratic targets being possible, stan insists that these alternative ered as circumstances and he alter," dards should be taken seriously on their own terms.12 to show

In this spirit, we focus on the procedural that have been definitions on recent democratization at the most in research widely employed

level of national political regimes. These definitions refer to democratic

or other outcomes that rather than to substantive policies procedures^ are in also "minimal," These definitions be viewed as democratic. might number of attrib that they deliberately focus on the smallest possible a viable standard for not utes that are still seen as democracy; producing are needed about which there is disagreement attributes surprisingly, to be viable. For most of these scholars dif for the definition example, as the more features of view ferentiate what they specifically political on the of the society and economy, the regime from characteristics
10 For an analysis that focuses on some of these same strategies with reference to another social sci ence concept, see David Collier, "Trajectory of a Concept: in the Study of Latin Amer 'Corporatism' in Comparative Perspective: New Approaches to in Peter H. Smith, ed., Latin America ican Politics," and Analysis (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Method Press, 1995). For discussions by linguists and cognitive these strategies, see D. A. Cruse, Lexical Semantics scientists of the intuitive structure that underlies Press, 1986), chap. 6; George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous (Cambridge: Cambridge University Mind of Chicago Press, 1987), chaps. 2, (Chicago: University Things: What Categories Reveal about the 6; and John R. Taylor, Linguistic Categorization: Prototypes in Linguistic Theory, 2d ed. (Oxford: Oxford Press, 1989), chaps. 2-3. University 11W. B. Gallie, "Essentially Contested Concepts," Proceedings of theAristotelian Society 56 (London: and Sons, 1956), 184; emphasis in original. Harrison 12 Ibid., quote at 186; see also pp. 178,189,190,193.



as that the latter are more grounds appropriately analyzed potential causes or consequences of democracy, rather than as features of democ racy itself.13 Within absence liberties, However, scholars, effective in some this framework, of massive we focus on a "procedural minimum" defini

tion that presumes fully contested elections with fiill suffrage and the
with effective of civil fraud, combined guarantees freedom of and association.14 including speech, assembly, consensus on a there is by no means Some single definition. for example, have created an minimum" uexpanded procedural as we will see below, is a crucial issue

definition by adding the criterion that elected governments must have

power to govern?which, countries.

II. Sartori's
We first consider Sartori's


for achieving differentiation and strategies on a basic Sartori builds about avoiding conceptual stretching. insight a the organization of concepts: be aspect of the relationship significant tween

the meaning of concepts and the range of cases to which they can be understood terms of a "ladder of in lad apply generality."15 This der is based on a pattern of inverse variation between the number of cases. attributes and number of Thus, concepts With, fewer defining to more cases and are therefore attributes defining commonly apply on the ladder of concepts with more defining higher generality, whereas cases and hence are lower on the ladder. to attributes apply fewer
13 see Guillermo For discussions of procedural definitions, and Philippe C. Schmitter, O'Donnell Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies (Baltimore: Johns "The Modest Meaning of Democ Press, 1986), chap. 2; Samuel P. Huntington, Hopkins University in theAmericas: Stopping the Pendulum (New York: Holmes racy," in Robert A. Pastor, ed., Democracy see and Meier, Di 1989); Schumpeter (fn.3); and Dahl (fn. 3). On minimal definitions, Giuseppe of California Palma, To Craft Democracies: An Essay on Democratic Transitions (Berkeley: University in the Late Twentieth The Third Wave: Democratization Press, 1990), 28; and Samuel P. Huntington, of Oklahoma of the society Press, 1991), 9. On treating characteristics Century (Norman: University see Juan J. Linz, "Totalitarian and Authoritar and economy as a cause or consequence of democracy, ian Regimes," in Fred I. Greenstein and Nelson W. Polsby, eds., Handbook of Political Science, vol. 3 1975), 182; and Terry Lynn Karl, "Dilemmas of Democratization (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, in Latin America," Politics 23 (October 1990), 2. Comparative 14 O'Donnell and Schmitter (fn. 13), 8 (but see note 33 below); Larry Diamond, Juan J. Linz, and Linz, and Lipset, eds., Democracy inDeveloping Coun Seymour Martin Lipset, "Preface," inDiamond, tries: Latin America (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1989), xvi; Di Palma (fn. 13), 16. See also Juan J. Linz, The Breakdown ofDemocratic Regimes: Crisis, Breakdown, and Reequilibration (Baltimore: Johns Press, 1978), 5. University Hopkins 15 because the term abstract Sartori (fn. 1), 1040, actually refers to a ladder of "abstraction." However, in contrast to concrete, this label can be confusing. We is often understood therefore find that "ladder of more generality" expresses the intended meaning clearly.

with DEMOCRACY Differentiation

One of Sartori's goals increased have more



by moving

defining distinctions that for some pur the more fine-grained concepts provide move are to the ladder is researcher.16 This down the invaluable poses we will call "classical" the creation of what often accomplished through are understood as of democracy.17 Classical subtypes ^///in subtypes

can be differentiation conceptual to that of the ladder concepts generality attributes and fit a narrower range of cases. These is to show how down

stances of the root definition18 of democracy in relation towhich they

are differentiated are formed, at the same time that vis-?-vis other they of this classical concept. Thus, democracy," "parliamentary subtypes are all considered and "federal democracy" def "multiparty democracy," at the the author is using), standard democratic (by whatever initely a same time that each is considered (see type of democracy particular use on cases recent the of of In research democratization, 1). Figure to achieve differentiation in the is found, for example, classical subtypes as to of parliamentary, debate on the consequences opposed important presidential, democracy.19


down the ladder of generality provides useful differentiation,

an role in the recent litera and the subtypes important just noted play ture. Yet in this manner may leave the analyst vulner subtypes formed the cases under because able to conceptual they presume stretching, case are If the democracies. discussion being stud particular definitely use of these subtypes as a tool then the ied is less than fully democratic, there of conceptual differentiation may not be appropriate. Analysts of democ different that distinguish fore seek concepts among degrees to among different racy, in addition types of democracy. distinguishing to the second classical Because only contribute subtypes of democracy common means of con of these two goals, they have not been the most in studies of recent democratization. differentiation ceptual
16 Sartori (fn. 1), 1041. 17 of cat the "classical" understanding We refer to these as classical subtypes because they fit within as Lakoff (fn. 10), 9 and 2. passim; and Taylor (fn. 10), chap. egorization discussed by such authors 18 In referring to the root definition, we do not imply that it is the "correct" definition of the relevant It is simply the definition that, for a particular author, is the point concept (in this case, of democracy). of departure in forming the subtype. We will occasionally use the expression "root concept" to refer to that is the point of departure for the various the concept (again, in the present context, democracy) innovations analyzed here. conceptual 19 Linz and Valenzuela Sartori, Comparative Consti (fn. 8); Stepan and Skach (fn. 8); and Giovanni tutional Engineering: An Inquiry into Structures, Incentives, and Outcomes (New York: New York Uni versity Press, 1994).



Up the Ladder: Avoiding Conceptual Stretching


Competitive regimeb Electoral regime0

I Root Concept i Down the Ladder:


Parliamentary democracy*1 Two-party democracy0 Federal democracyf


Figure The increasing

1 avoiding

of Generality: Ladder versus differentiation Stretching

"JohnA. Booth, tions and Democracy "Framework

in John A. Booth and Mitchell A. Seligson, eds., Elec for Analysis," in Central America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989), 26. and David Collier, bRuth Berins Collier Shaping the Political Arena: Critical Junctures, the Labor in Latin America and Regime Dynamics Movement, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 354. toElectoral in Limits and Chile: The Petras Fernando and Leiva, cJames Ignacio Democracy Poverty Press, 1994), (Boulder, Colo.: Westview dJuan J. Linz. "Presidential or Parliamentary Linz and Arturo Valenzuela, eds., The Failure Press, 1994), 3. University eMarkJ. Gasiorowski, Duncan Raymond Studies in Comparative "The Political Regimes Politics 89. Democracy: of Presidential Project," Does ItMake a Difference?" (Baltimore: in Juan J.


Johns Hopkins Devel


in Comparative


25 (Spring 1990), 113. opment

Gastil, "The Comparative International Development Survey of Freedom: Experiences 25 (Spring 1990), 35. and Suggestions,"



conceptual range stretching is to move up the context,

for avoiding fit a broader

ladder of generality to concepts that have fewer defining attributes and

20 Sartori (fn. 1), 1041.

of cases.20

In the present


above democracy as a view democracy commonly ality. Scholars to the if concept of regime. Hence, overarching a democratic a case is to whether really particular this involves concepts located


on the ladder of gener in relation type specific as they have misgivings can move regime, they

up the ladder and simply call it a regime.

as as a to a because However, concept shifting general regime entails scholars have loss of moved differentiation, great conceptual typically

to an intermediate

level (Figure 1)?adding

adjectives to the term

to differentiate classical spe regime and thereby generating subtypes more remain cific types of regime. The than subtypes general resulting not in that they encompass the concept of democracy, only democra re cies but also some /w^-democracies. include "civilian Examples gime," "competitive thus achieve some do not discussion regime," and "electoral differentiation conceptual commit themselves A scholars regime." Although in relation to regime, they to the idea that the case under scholars polity."21

specifically is a democracy. use a synonym for regime,

is followed when similar pattern as in "civilian rule" and "competitive

stretching, main more

climbing the ladder of generality helps to avoid conceptual

it has an

re drawback. Because these subtypes important this approach leads to than the concept of democracy, general a loss of taken together, Sartori's two differentiation. Thus, conceptual can advance one or the other of these not both at goals, but strategies once. As a scholars have turned to other strategies. many consequence,

III. Diminished
An alternative strategy of conceptual

innovation, that of creating "di

minished" subtypes,22 can contribute both to achieving differentiation

It is a strategy widely used in the and to avoiding stretching. conceptual Two points are crucial for under literature on recent democratization. to the classical in contrast sub diminished First, subtypes. standing root definition the subtype. democracy" For of "democracy" example, are understood by the author who presents and "tutelary democracy" "limited-suffrage as less than instances of democ complete employed

types discussed above, diminished subtypes are not fiill instances of the

21 Civilian Rule in Guatemala," "Continued Counterinsurgency: See, respectively, Richard Wilson, and Richard Wilson, in Barry Gills, Joel Rocamora, eds., Low Intensity Democracy: Political Power in the New World Order (London: Pluto Press, 1993); and Terry Lynn Karl, "Democracy by Design: The Christian Democratic eds., Party in El Salvador," in Giuseppe Di Palma and Laurence Whitehead, The Central American Impasse (London: Croom Helm, 1986). 22 on the discussion of radial concepts The idea of diminished subtypes builds (fn. 1), 850-52. See also Lakoff (fn. 10), chap. 6. in Collier and Mahon



lack one or more of its attributes.23 Conse racy because they defining a more in using these the analyst makes modest claim quendy, subtypes to about the extent of democratization and is therefore less vulnerable stretching. conceptual The second point concerns types represent hwingfewer rather an differentiation. Because diminished sub

be higher on the ladder of generality and would therefore provide less,

than more, differentiation. However, the distinctive feature of

form of democracy, be seen as incomplete they might with the that attributes, consequence they would defining

diminished subtypes is that they generally identify specific attributes of

the diminished that are missings thereby establishing character democracy same at of the time that the of subtype, they identify other attributes democracy to a that are present. Because they specify missing attributes, they

also increase differentiation, and the diminished subtype in fact refers

set of cases than does the root definition of democracy. different a diminished The inclusion and exclusion of cases that occurs with as opposed to moving (Figure in terms up or down 2). Britain the ladder of generality, and the United minimum States, definition. can but If

subtype, States,

be illustrated with the examples of contemporary Britain, the United

and Guatemala

probably notGuatemala
seen as democratic "electoral

(at least up through the mid-1990s), would be

of the procedural

we climb the ladder of generality, we find that the broader concept of

all three cases. Lower down on the regime"24 encompasses would include ladder the classical democracy" subtype "parliamentary one of the two democracies, that is, Britain. the dimin By contrast,

ished subtype "illiberal democracy" would include only Guatemala, the

case that specifically 3 presents Figure that have been did not fit the root definition some of democracy.25 of the many diminished subtypes examples to the in relation minimum and procedural

generated minimum of democracy definitions noted above. expanded procedural in In many scholars created diminished which more instances, subtypes ismissing, attribute of democracy but for the pur than one component
23 Because

are less than instances, itmight be objected that they are not really "sub they complete on a term from cognitive one can refer to them as con at all. Drawing linguistics, types" of democracy to avoid are derived in part from the concept of democracy. However, referring ceptual "blends" that seems to call them to subtypes. "subtypes and blends," it simpler in the discussion below repeatedly no. and Middle See Gilles Fauconnier and Mark Turner, "Conceptual Projection Spaces," Report of California, Science (San Diego: University of Cognitive San Diego, 9401, Department 1994). 24 to have the meaning This subtype is understood explained above in the discussion of Figure 1. 25 illiberal democracy, see Figure 3. Two further points about diminished subtypes should Regarding in relation to which be underscored. First, if scholars fail to identify the root definition of democracy or diminished. a given it is difficult to determine whether subtype is classical they form subtypes,


Up the Ladder




Cases: Britain,

Root Concept

Cases: Britain, U.S.

Down the Ladder Diminished Subtype

Parliamentary Democracy
Cases: Britain

Cases: Guatemala

Figure Ladder and Inclusion of Generality

2 of Cases: Exclusion versus Diminished Subtypes


of illustration careful we



on a


in which

the author The

has been subtypes


in the first group (la) refer to cases where the missing attribute is full
suffrage. Here are used which and historical find terms in pointing cases to the advent prior such as "male" or "oligarchical'' democracy, to the contrast between cases contemporary of universal suffrage. Where the

in isolating

single missing


attribute of full contestation ismissing (lb), aswhen

important parties

as a the fact that a subtype refers to what might be understood feature of Second, "problematic" con democracy does not necessarily mean that it is a diminished subtype. For example, O'Donnell's refers to cases with weak horizontal among the cept of "delegative democracy," which accountability branches of government, in fact meets his minimum definition of democracy, given that he does not in the definition. See O'Donnell in his usage, del include horizontal (fh. 8), 56. Hence, accountability is a classical subtype. For a discussion of subtypes that refer to "problematic" democ egative democracy racies, see a longer version of the present analysis inDavid Collier and Steven Levitsky, "Democracy no. 230 (Notre in Comparative 'with Adjectives': Innovation Research," Working Conceptual Paper Ind.: The Kellogg of Notre Dame, Dame, Institute, University 1996), 20-26. The above characteriza as correcting the assessment tion of delegative democracy as a classical subtype should be understood of this subtype presented in Collier (fn. 10), 147-48.

1. Diminished from ProceduralMinimum Definition (la) Missing Attribute: Full Suffrage

Limited Male democracy* democracy1* Oligarchical

Missing Attribute: Full Contestation
Controlled democracy*1 De facto one-party

Missing Attribute: Civil Liberties
Electoral democracyg Hard democracy11 Illiberal democracy1 Minimum Definition

Restrictive from Expanded

democracyf Procedural

2. Diminished

Missing Attribute: Elected Government

Has Effective Power to Govern Guarded democracy Protected democracy1 Tutelary democracy1 3 of Diminished Subtypes

Figure Partial Democracies: Examples

"Ronald P. Archer, "Party Strength andWeakness in Colombia's in Scott Besieged Democracy," and Timothy R. Scully, eds., Mainwaring Building Democratic Institutions: Party Systems in Latin Amer ica (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 166. Process and in a Changing World (Boul bGeorg Sorensen, Democracy and Democratization: Prospects 20. der, Colo.: Westview 1993), Press, c Jonathan Hartlyn and Arturo Valenzuela, "Democracy in Latin America since 1930," in Leslie Bethell, ed., The Cambridge History ofLatin America, vol. 6 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 99. dBruce Michael Front and Economic Development," in Robert Wes Bagley, "Colombia: National in Latin America Institution son, ed., Politics, Policies, and Economic Development (Stanford: Hoover Press, 1984), 125. and Development in the Third World," cAdrian Leftwich, Third World "Governance, Democracy, 14 (1993), 613. Quarterly in Larry Diamond, fCarlos H. Waisman, Industrialization and Illegitimacy," "Argentina: Autarkic in Countries: Latin America eds., Juan J. Linz, and Seymour Martin Democracy Lipset, Developing (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner, 1989), 69. of Democracy: gAxel Hadenius, Institutional vs. Socio-economic "The Duration Factors," in David andMeasuring Democracy (London: Sage Publications, ed. Defining Beetham, 1994), 69. and Philippe C. Schmitter, Transitions from Authoritarian hGuillermo ODonnell Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), 9. This is our translation of their democradura. In English they refer to this as "limited democracy," the same term used to lc. in la above, but they make it clear that their meaning corresponds and Recalcitrance: in Southeast Asia" (Paper Emmerson, "Region Questioning Democracy at theWorld of the International Political Science Association, Berlin, 1994), 14. Congress presented Donald

en los noventa," America Latina, JEdelberto Torres Rivas, "La gobemabilidad centroamericana Hoy 2 (June 1994), 27. This is our translation of his democracia vigilada. " kBrian Loveman, and Military 'Protected Democracies' in Political Transitions Guardianship: Latin America, Studies and World 36 (Summer 1994), 108-11. 1978-1993,"JournalofInteramerican Affairs as a 'Adam Przeworski, of Conflicts," in Jon Elster and Rune Outcome "Democracy Contingent Slagstad, eds., Constitutionalism and Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), 60-61.


are banned "controlled" from electoral have competition, democracy. used terms we Where such find civil terms liberties and such and "restrictive" scholars

441 as

are in "illib

(lc), complete eral" democracy. created

as "electoral"

The subtypes in the final group (2), introduced by the scholarswho

the expanded procedural minimum reminder that the meaning of the subtypes tion of democracy in relation to which they definition, depends are formed. a usefiil provide on the root defini From the point

of departure of that definition, these scholars introduced diminished subtypes inwhich the missing attribute is the effective power of the
to govern. These therefore do not meet government subtypes the expanded minimum standard for procedural democracy, although meet do the minimum standard. that refer to they Examples procedural cases where is seen as having an inordinate the military of degree polit ical power include "protected" and "tutelary" democracy. elected to avoid then, are a useful means subtypes, conceptual are cases that in less than democratic. also stretching fully They provide new differentiation Various scholars analytic categories. by creating a dichotomous to the need to move have pointed beyond conceptual Diminished ization of authoritarianism character that this recognition countries and democracy and recognize the "hybrid" or "mixed" suggests

of many

postauthoritarian has indeed occurred,

3 regimes.26 Figure and on a rather large however,


tion arises

that are less than fully democratic, as to whether itwould be better to avoid for example, on electoral restrictions Bagley's

subtypes of democracy, liberties and/or severe of such questioning

the ques them as identifying in cases of gross violations of civil rejection An competition. of the numerous example dimin

is Bruce

ished subtypes of democracy that have been applied to the National Front period in Colombia (1958-74); these include "restricted,"
"controlled," democracy. "limited," "oligarchical," instead characterizes Bagley "elitist," and "elitist-pluralist" as a of au Colombia subtype

26 in Latin America," in James M. Malloy "The Politics of Transition and James M. Malloy, and Democrats: Mitchell A. Seligson, in Latin America t?s., Authoritarians (Pitts Regime Transition of Pittsburgh Press, 1987), 256-57; Catherine M. Conaghan and Rosario Espinal, burgh: University to Uncertain without Compromise in the Dominican Re "Unlikely Transitions Regimes? Democracy Studies 22 (October 1990), 555; Jonathan Hartlyn, public and Ecuador," Journal of Latin American Elections "Crisis-Ridden Presidentialism, (Again) in the Dominican Republic: Neopatrimonialism, andWeak Electoral Oversight," Journal ofInteramerican Studies and World Affairs 36 (Winter 1994), 93-96; Terry Lynn Karl, "The Hybrid Regimes 1995); and Francisco Weffort, Qualdemocracia? of Central America," Journal ofDemocracy 6 (Summer das Letras, 1992), 89-90. (S?o Paulo: Companhia

442 thoritarianism: to labels such as an

"inclusionary authoritarian regime."27 regime, Other which

scholars have addressed this issue by climbing the ladder of generality

as "civilian,"

are found in the upper part of Figure 1.A third option is to use dismis
sive subtypes like those noted in above, such as "facade democracy," the which the adjective cancels democratic of character the essentially should be self-conscious about the analytic and nor subtype. Scholars mative implications racy, as opposed of choosing to some other to form concept. subtypes in relation to democ


or "electoral"

IV. Precising
Another strategy defining researchers on

the Definition
innovation As a

of Democracy
focuses on the definition to new of set as a is not

of conceptual attributes.28

adding tings,

itself and is concerned with "precising" the definition by

the concept is extended case that definition may the basis confront particular of a commonly accepted is classified yet


seen as fully democratic in light of a larger shared understanding of the

the case and the formal definition between concept. This mismatch one or more criteria that are to make lead may analysts explicit implic to be part of the overall but that are not in understood itly meaning,

cluded in the definition. The

result is a new definition

intended to

case is classified. the way a particular this procedure Although change could be seen as raising the standard for of precising the definition as can also be understood to a it the definition democracy, adapting new context. This innovation increases conceptual differentiation, by a further criterion the cutoff between democ for establishing adding also avoid and The racy concep strategy may thereby nondemocracy. to cases it does not apply the label "democracy" tual stretching because the analyst sees as incompletely de that, in light of this new criterion, a concern use of this arise mocratic. the from strategy may Although to fit a of democracy the with the concept context, adapting particular that context. can also new the modified definition Indeed, provide new cases for which the into of the other defining significance sight been fully appreciated. tributes had not previously in at

modified definition should not be understood as being relevant only to

27 in Robert Wesson, ed., Politics, Poli Bagley, "Colombia: National Front and Economic Development," inLatin America (Stanford, Calif: Hoover Institution Press, 1984), 125-27. cies, and Economic Development 28 in Sartori, ed., Social Science Concepts: A See Giovanni Sartori, "Guidelines for Concept Analysis," 1984), 81; and Irving M. Copi and Carl (Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications, Systematic Analysis 1994), 173-75. In Social Science Concepts Cohen, Introduction to Logic, 9th ed. (New York: Macmillan, uses this as a verb, as in "to precise" a definition. (p. 42), Sartori also




example of precising the definition

is the emergence of the

of an expanded noted above. In several procedural minimum, as as cases such Central American in South American well countries, as Chile one and Paraguay, rule has been the legacy of authoritarian over of "reserved domains" of which elected power persistence military have little or no authority.29 Hence, free or rela governments despite are seen in these countries civilian governments tively free elections, by some as to effective In of these au govern. power analysts lacking light to claims that because thoritarian these legacies, and often in response countries have held free elections criterion they are "democratic," some scholars

have modified
specifying reasonable as an

the procedural minimum

definition of democracy by

effective power as such have been ex ition, Chile, El Salvador, and Paraguay as democracies, cluded by some scholars from the set of cases classified even free elections.30 These scholars have they held relatively though countries

explicit degree have

that the elected

must to a government to rule.With this revised defin

thus adapted the definition

often but This taken that

to explicitly include an attribute that is


in studies of advanced for granted industrial cases. is absent in these Latin American

has received substantial revised definition acceptance, although on the treatment there certainly has not been full agreement of specific cases. For in analyzing Chile in the post-1990 period, Rhoda example, to the usage adopted intro Rabkin takes exception by scholars who minimum duced the expanded definition. She argues that procedural a suf the problem of civilian control of the military does not represent to the to ficient elected government democratically challenge qualify as a "borderline" Chile democracy.31 Two other initiatives but to precise the definition serve have not the received issues simi lar acceptance, called selected Brazil, they usefiilly definition social as Francisco to illustrate that arise a focus on

with this strategy. The first is found in discussions of what might be

a Tocquevillean of aspects scholars such relations. of democracy that In analyzing Weffort includes postauthoritarian O'Donnell and Guillermo

29 "Democratic Consolidation in Post-Transitional Process, J. Samuel Valenzuela, Settings: Notion, in Scott Mainwaring, Guillermo and J. Samuel Valenzuela, and Facilitating Conditions," O'Donnell, in Comparative Perspective eds., Issues inDemocratic Consolidation: The New South American Democracies of Notre Dame Press, 1992), 70. Ind.: University (Notre Dame, 30 and Military "'Protected Democracies' Karl (fn. 13), 2; Valenzuela (fn. 29); and Brian Loveman, in Latin America, Political Transitions 1979-1993," Journal of Interamerican Studies and Guardianship: World Affairs 36 (Summer 1994). See also Humberto Rubin, "One Step Away from Democracy" Jour nal ofDemocracy 1 (Fall 1990). 31 A Concept and 'Tutelary' Democracy: Rhoda Rabkin, "The Aylwin Government 165. Case?"Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 34 (Winter 1992-93), in Search of a



have been struck by the degree towhich rights of citizenship are un

semifeudal and authoritarian social relations by the pervasive that persist in some regions of the country. In light of this concern, they so as to exclude Brazil. Thus, have precised the definition of democracy dermined


adds the definitional

requirement of "some level of social

a a to be considered and O'Donnell country democracy, equality" for a similar In introduces this usage, these authors adopting stipulation.32 view themselves troducing from earlier departure section that O'Donnell of incorporating effort new the procedural framework. Yet in remaining within an issues of social relations nonetheless represents important see in the next definitions. We will procedural has subsequently arrived at an alternative means set of concerns into his conceptualization of as

this to

democracy. Another that munist in many

has arisen from a concern the definition precise in Latin democracies America and in former com

use of de at times make extensive elected presidents countries, cree power, circumvent institutions democratic such as the legislature manner and political in a that is seen parties, and govern plebiscitar?an as In the Latin American undercurrents. strong authoritarian having context

in Argentina, include Carlos Menem Fer prominent examples most extreme in Brazil, in de Mello Collor the case, Al and, concern in The these authoritarian berto Peru. with Fujimori tendencies has led some authors to include checks on executive power nando in their procedural criteria for democracy unconstrained However, presidentialism.33 not been widely adopted. and this thus to exclude has cases of innovation likewise

can thus serve both to introduce the definition usefully Precising finer differentiation and to avoid conceptual and the associ stretching, issues about the meaning ated debates have raised essential that schol ars wish to attach to the term Among this article, the alternative precising strategies in a sense "democracy." of conceptual introduces Yet the most caution drastic is in order. examined change: in it innovation


the definition of democracy itself. If an innovation based on

no. 198, Latin "New Democracies, Which Democracies?" Working Paper D.C.: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1992), Program (Washington, to Democratization in Brazil," 18;Weffort O'Donnell, (fn. 26), 100-101; Guillermo "Challenges in World Policy Journal 5 (1988), 297-98; and Paradoxes," Main and idem, "Transitions, Continuities, and Valenzuela (fn. 29), 48-49. waring, O'Donnell, 33 in their definitions Authors who have employed horizontal include Philippe C. accountability Is ... and Is Not," Journal ofDemocracy 2 (Sum Schmitter and Terry Lynn Karl, "What Democracy mer 1991), 76, 87; and Alan R. Ball, Modern Politics and Government, 5th ed. (Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House, and Schmitter (fn. 13), 8, actually include it in their formal 1994), 45-46. O'Donnell definition, but it appears to play no role in their subsequent analysis. American

32 Francisco Weffort,



precising iswidely accepted, it has the important effect of changing the definitional point of departure with reference towhich all of the other
are in effect unsettling the "semantic field" in which strategies pursued, are these scholars the introduction of a new By contrast, working.34 not affect the semantic field in the same way. In a litera subtype does ture in which is a recurring confusion the analytic conceptual problem,

gains from precising the definition must be weighted of unsettling the semantic field.

against the cost

it is important that scholars avoid "definitional gerrymander a new definition in the sense of time they en every introducing ing,"35 a somewhat case. However, counter anomalous the contrast between

the first example (adding the criterion of effective power to govern) and the third example (adding horizontal accountability) shows that schol
in fact impose constructive limits on precising. In the first ex to the elected of exercise effective governments power ample, inability was seen as in the their democratic character. By contrast, invalidating third example, assertions of power by the pres involving heavy-handed are elected leaders. Hence, ident, a crucial point is that these presidents as meet to treat these it might be argued that it is appropriate regimes a minimal to avoid for standard and ing democracy precising?as long ars may

as (1) theymaintain presidential elections and a general respect for civil liberties and the legislature and (2) opposition parties are not banned or dissolved (as occurred in Peru in 1992). Finally, the initiative of precising can raise the issue of bringing back
into the definition explicidy decided example in the authors could be seen lationships approach. These Tocquevillean as a in the sense that they argue framework, remaining within procedural in the context of ex that political participation becomes less meaningfijl treme social innovation this reintroduces inequality. However, conceptual a in a way that nonetheless features of social relations represents major shift from earlier recommendations about which attributes should be of democracy to exclude. An attributes that scholars is the concern had previously with social re

included in definitions of democracy. V. Shifting

Yet another

the Overarching


innovation is to shift the overarching strategy of conceptual seen as a to which in is relation concept, specific instance? democracy that is, as a classical scholars most although subtype. Thus, commonly
34 On the problem 35 Jennifer Whiting, of unsettling personal the semantic communication, field, suggested see Sartori (fn. 28), 51-54. this term.

446 view democracy as a as

subtype of the overarching concept "regime" (and

the procedural criteria for democracy discussed above would routinely

some recent literature has to the applying regime), as a to other in relation democracy subtype overarching as in "democratic and "democratic state." concepts, government" a can is when labeled the Hence, "democratic," given country meaning to to term at the is which the vary according concept overarching tached. be understood understood can an alternative in the standard concept yield overarching a case to be a either without yet democracy, particular or can the concept of "democratic be stretching modifying regime." As seen in a to create scholars have used this standard 4, strategy Figure A shift for declaring that can be either less or more that demanding.

finds Brazilian democracy in the immediate post-1985 period to be so

poorly institutionalized ching label "regime" may tion follows the example to use the overar it appears inappropriate refer to a "democratic situation." This distinc

For example,

a scholar who

of Juan Linz's the analysis of Brazil during earlier post-1964 authoritarian the concept of an period: he introduced "authoritarian situation" to take account of the weak institutionalization of national mediate ernment" surrounds political post-1985 in order the head structures.36 period to suggest Other that in Brazil the im analysts concerned with have referred to "democratic gov a particular government

(that is, the head of state and the immediate political leadership that
of state) has been elected democratically, the ongo not is of democratic assured. ing functioning necessarily By procedures to government in this from the concept regime overarching shifting way, for applying the label "democratic." the from "regime" to concept Alternatively, overarching by shifting a more establishes standard for labeling "state," O'Donnell demanding a countries after Brazil's democracy. Writing presidential particular led scholars to reinterpret Brazil as having a de election of 1989, which raises questions char mocratic about the democratic regime, O'Donnell as well as in some other South American acter of the state in Brazil, scholars countries. at times country, He that, suggests "sultanistic" political the national in the context of the "neofeudalized" found basic in many rights and of the parts of citizenship, lower the standard


relationships state does not protect

36 Situation or the Institutionalization of an Au See Juan J. Linz, "The Future of an Authoritarian Brazil: Origins, Policies, thoritarian Regime: The Case of Brazil," inAlfred Stepan, ed., Authoritarian uses "democratic moment" to convey a sim Future (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973). Malloy ilar meaning. See Malloy (fn. 26), 236.


Lowering the Standard
Democratic Democratic Government

447 Raising the Standard


Point of Departure

Author Duncan Baretta andMarkoff Hagopian and Mainwarin^ O'Donnell

Situation Yes

Regime No






O'Donnell Yes No

Figure Shifting the Characterizing 4 Concept: Brazil

Overarching Post-1985

toWhat?" in James M. Baretta and John Markoff, "Silvio Duncan "Brazil's Abertura: Transition and Democrats: Regime Transition in Latin Amer and Mitchell A. Seligson, eds., Authoritarians Malloy ica (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1987), 62. in Brazil: Problems and Scott Mainwaring, and Prospects," World bFrances Hagopian "Democracy Policy Journal A (Summer 1987), 485. cGuillermo O'Donnell, O'Donnell, 21 (August "Challenges to Democratization in Brazil," World Policy Journal and Some Conceptual S (Spring World

1988), 281.
dGuillermo Development 1993), "On the State, Democratization, 1360. Problems,"

and specifically the rights of citizens to fair and equal protection in their social and economic relationships. This failure may not direcdy
in the sense of direcdy of the regime, affect the functioning are core features of civil the elections and associated liberties that ing the procedural of a democratic regime. However, understanding influence O'Donnell institutions argues, this failure of the legal and bureaucratic a broader set of democratic sector to protect and promote of the public state. Hence, al is a crucial feature of the Brazilian rights of citizens a that countries like Brazil have democratic he recognizes though to set of countries he considers excludes from he them the "regime," democratic another "states." This shift a more tutes way of making to be an incomplete in the overarching concept assessment differentiated specifically consti of what by estab


is deemed

case of democracy,



lishing a higher and a lower standard for democracy and declaring that
these countries meet only the lower standard.37


the standpoint of maintaining

this innovation

a procedural definition
solution to the


can be seen as a better

lem that O'Donnell and others initially tried to address by creating the Tocquevillean definition. Thus, in conjunction with shifting the over
arching concept, democratic


definition, and this concern with the broader functioning of citizenship

in the context of authoritarian of social relations is addressed patterns via the concept of the state. To summarize, the strategy of shifting overarch among alternative can serve to introduce finer differentiation an ing concepts by creating to additional When is the used lower the category. strategy analytic a case to be a standard for declaring it can also help avoid democracy, the concept of a democratic is the strategy stretching regime. When used to raise the standard it is not relevant to the problem



to have


stretching, because it is not concerned with avoiding what might be

seen as the mistake provides ing democratic it additional of calling a given case a democratic regime. information about cases that are accepted Rather, as hav

of conceptual


VI. Concluding
We have examined of recent


innovation used by analysts strategies of conceptual as a twofold to meet seek in democratization they challenge: to in differentiation order characterize the creasing analytic adequately con diverse regimes that have emerged in recent years and maintaining

ceptual validity by avoiding conceptual stretching. Our goal has been

structure the complex of these comprehensible to evaluate strate the and weaknesses of the strategies strengths Even when these scholars proceed rather than self-con intuitively, gies. as noted to operate within tend this structure, which, they sciously, on no means to recent is research democratization.38 above, by unique both and to make more

Yet, in the interest of conceptual and analytic clarity, it is far more de

sirable for them trade-offs with a full awareness of the self-consciously, proceed the different among strategies. an overview structure. 5 provides of this analytic Figure Conceptual at root innovation has occurred the three levels of the concept of democ to
Countries," and Some Conceptual Problems: A Latin World Development 21, no. 8

37 Guillermo O'Donnell, "On the State, Democratization at Some Postcommunist American View with Glances (1993), 1359 and passim. 38 See again references in note 10.



5. Shifting the
Overarching Concept :___: 5b. Raising the Standard Increases differentiation, does not avoid stretching


5a. Lowering the Standard Increases differentiation, avoids stretching 2. Up the Ladder of Generality Does not increase differentiation, avoids stretching

arching Concept

? Root Concept

4. Precising the Definition of Democracy Increases differentiation, avoids stretching

1. Down Subtypes

the Ladder

3. Diminished

of Generality Increases differentiation, does not avoid stretching

Subtypes of Democracy Increases differentiation, avoids stretching

5 Figure the Conceptual innovations: Evaluating to Increasing and Avoiding Contribution Differentiation Conceptual Stretching

racy itself, the subtypes,

and the overarching

concept. We



Sartori's strategies of (1)moving down the ladder of generality to clas sical subtypes of democracy and (2) moving up the ladder to classical
subtypes to avoid of regime conceptual can usefully serve either but they to increase do both differentiation simultaneously. or stretching, cannot

These two goals can be achieved simultaneously, however, by (3) creating diminished subtypes, (4) precising the definition of democracy by adding defining attributes, and (5a) shifting the overarching concept as a
means ching of lowering the standard. By to raise the standard concept contrast (5b), for democracy the overar shifting does not serve to

avoid We conceptual have

stretching vis-?-vis issues the that concept of a democratic to

regime, but it does introduce new differentiation.

also underscored are distinctive particular

subtypes are useful for characterizing hybrid strategies. Diminished issue of whether these regimes should in fact raise the but regimes, they
be treated as subtypes of democracy, rather than subtypes of authoritar

ianism or some other concept. The strategy of precising the definition is subject to the perennial problem of scholarly disputes over definitions of democracy, aswell as to the problem of imposing limits on defini tional gerrymandering. Although the strategy of shifting the overarch
is not relevant to the the goal of raising the standard ing concept with to introduce it does of allow scholars stretching, problem conceptual a new definition of issues without abandoning procedural analytic democracy Finally, and of regime. share two common First, given the strategies problems. structure of these the for confusion and strategies, potential these

complex miscommunication define

is considerable. It is imperative that scholars clearly are so as to of democracy the conception and explicate they using to this structure. in relation situate themselves unambiguously in the this literature faces a major dilemma of Second, proliferation same mean the of which and terms, many concepts thing. approximately can be once The consequence, growing scholarly confusion. Al again, though goals new terms are created in part because scholars are pursuing these of differentiation and avoiding conceptual stretching, they may

also be introduced with the goal of developing compelling labels that

to novel forms of In the literature democracy.39 vividly draw attention an over the past three decades, on national important regimes political

alytic innovations have periodically been introduced in conjunction

with labels and concept of concepts the creation and/or systematization exam for of constellations that vividly capture important phenomena: "bureaucratic authoritarianism," "authoritarianism," "polyarchy," ple, the "consociational and democracy."40 Correspondingly, "corporatism," same role is an that this invention of additional concepts impor play

39 For a reminder of how important vivid labels can be, one need only look at the impressive evolu its codification of different patterns of political interaction designated tion of game theory, with by such labels as "prisoners' dilemma," "chicken," "stag hunt," "slippery slope," and "battle of the sexes." 40 eds., Cleav Juan J. Linz, "An Authoritarian Regime: Spain," in Erik Allardt and Yrj? Littunen, to of the ages, Ideologies and Party Systems: Contributions Comparative Political Sociology, Transactions Westermarck 1964); Dahl (fn. 3); Guillermo O'Donnell, Society, vol. 10 (Helsinki: Academic Bookstore, Studies in South American Politics, Institute of Interna and Bureaucratic-Authoritarianism: Modernization of California, Series no. 9 (Berkeley: University tional Studies, Politics ofModernization 1973); Philippe Li C Schmitter, "Still the Century of Corporatism?" Review of Politics 36 (January 1974); and Arend A (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977). jphart, Democracy inPlural Societies: Comparative Exploration




if research on de goal in the ongoing study of regimes. However, can come to see who mocratization into a competition up degenerates with the next famous concept, the comparative of regimes will be study in serious trouble. we another major of concept Hence, usage, one propose objective a further trade-off vis-?-vis that introduces the two goals of achieving to pur differentiation and avoiding In addition conceptual stretching. scholars should aim for parsimony and avoid ex suing these goals, new terms and cessive of the Otherwise, concepts. proliferation that derive from advantages this article will be overridden the conceptual by the resulting refinements conceptual discussed confusion. in