By Peter Burnell

This booklet argues that our views on democratization mirror the highbrow origins of the inquiry. a number disciplines from anthropology to economics, sociology and criminal scholarship, in addition to diverse quarter reports, provide a wealthy mixture of analytical frameworks, special insights and major issues of shock.

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Any autocratic society will sooner or later come to have rulers with short time horizons due to succession crises or other causes. We therefore hypothesize that democracies that have lasted for some time and expected to last much longer provide better property and contract rights than any other type of regime. (Clague et al. 1996: 246, emphasis in the original) The empirical results confirm the hypothesis that longlasting democracy provides better protection for property and contract rights, and is therefore better for economic development, than autocracy.

The marker that has attracted most attention is probably that of citizenship. Citizenship is central to most understandings of democratic politics, embodying as it does a normative standard for assessing the quality of the relationship between subject and authority. Conventionally, citizenship is discussed as an element of state–society relations. In place of the conventional, jural notion of citizenship, anthropologists tend to stress its historically contingent, dynamic and contested nature. Rather than engage with the core juridical issues of 34 DISCIPLINES constitutional politics, anthropologists have been more interested in the margins of political selfhood – in transnational situations such as those involving migrants, or vigilantism, and transborder residents, or in situations where countervailing authorities compete with the state for the loyalty of subjects.

Both the intended and the unintended aspects of a reform affect the ‘rules of the game’ of local politics, creating risks and opportunities for different sets of actors. However, APAD’s interest in decentralization is not primarily concerned with advancing the reform agenda, with making local administration more efficient, or with improving the mechanisms of civic participation in decentralized governance. Instead, the approach starts from the premise that any effort at radical state reform is fraught with contradictions.

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