Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times
The Citizenry and the Breakdown of Democracy
By (author) Nancy Bermeo
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Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times by Nancy Bermeo
Book DescriptionFor generations, influential thinkers--often citing the tragic polarization that took place during Germany's Great Depression--have suspected that people's loyalty to democratic institutions erodes under pressure and that citizens gravitate toward antidemocratic extremes in times of political and economic crisis. But do people really defect from democracy when times get tough? Do ordinary people play a leading role in the collapse of popular government? Based on extensive research, this book overturns the common wisdom. It shows that the German experience was exceptional, that people's affinity for particular political positions are surprisingly stable, and that what is often labeled polarization is the result not of vote switching but of such factors as expansion of the franchise, elite defections, and the mobilization of new voters. Democratic collapses are caused less by changes in popular preferences than by the actions of political elites who polarize themselves and mistake the actions of a few for the preferences of the many. These conclusions are drawn from the study of twenty cases, including every democracy that collapsed in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution in interwar Europe, every South American democracy that fell to the Right after the Cuban Revolution, and three democracies that avoided breakdown despite serious economic and political challenges. Unique in its historical and regional scope, this book offers unsettling but important lessons about civil society and regime change--and about the paths to democratic consolidation today.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780691089706
(229mm x 152mm x 18mm)
Imprint: Princeton University Press
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publish Date: 21-Jul-2003
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Nancy Bermeo
Parties, Movements, and Democracy in the Developing World, Hardback (November 2016)
A comparative study of the role of political parties and movements in the founding and survival of developing world democracies.
Mass Politics in Tough Times, Hardback (July 2015)
In Mass Politics in Tough Times, the eminent political scientists Larry Bartels and Nancy Bermeo have gathered a group of leading scholars to analyze the political responses to the Great Recession in the US, Western Europe, and East-Central Europe.
Who Governs Southern Europe?, Paperback (August 2003)» View all books by Nancy Bermeo
This collection is a comprehensive, empirical account of the composition and patterns of recruitment of ministerial elites in Southern Europe throughout the last 150 years, thus encompassing different historical circumstances and political settings.
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Author Biography - Nancy Bermeo
Nancy Bermeo is Professor of Political Science at Princeton University. She is the author of "Revolution Within a Revolution" (Princeton) and a senior editor of "World Politics".
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