Chapter 4 Creating liberal democracy – appraising liberal democratic consolidation’s institutions and regime performance
Chapter three demonstrated that liberal democracy is informed by both a institutional focus, declining levels of inequality, and a normative shift in political culture. The procedural interpretation of liberal democracy focuses its attention on how democracy operates through its processes, procedures and institutions. The basic premise is that legal-rational authority is guaranteed through constitutional structures and electoral processes that inform the logic of representative democracy to execute the rule of the people. In order to qualify as a liberal democracy, certain institutional criteria must be met, such as relatively free and fair elections, a separation of power, the presence of the rule of law, and a constitutional state. This relates to the creation of a constitutional democracy that has representative substance through the utilisation of elections through which the polity voice their preference for candidates. This denotes a Schumpetarian view of the liberal democratic process, and provides a foundation to argue that citizens will assess their quality of life based on what elected representatives do, or in other words, the performance of the democratic regime.
The substantive interpretation of liberal democracy is concerned with the normative shift in political culture necessary to ensure that the liberal democracy order is sustainable and to attain some level of equality on a socio-economic level in order to secure a commitment to the liberal democratic regime. This requires legitimation and behavioural criteria that must be met for a state to be considered a liberal democracy. This includes a commitment to individual liberty, effective and sufficient democratic regime performance, and a normative commitment to liberal democracy as a system of government by the polity, as well as the performance of the elected representatives. Consequently, Blais and Dion (1990: 250) argue that procedural democracy is how political decision-makers are elected and the substantive tradition refers to what political decision-makers do. Therefore, the micro-genres of liberal democracy, as the archive of liberal democratic consolidation theory, are rooted in liberty, equality, and a liberal civic virtue. These micro-genres can be found in liberal democratic consolidation theory in that liberal democratic consolidation has a two-fold task.
Firstly, it must generate the political institutions needed to ensure that the authenticity and democratic legitimacy of political decisions that emanate from the liberal democratic process. Secondly, it implies relationship between state and civil society in that citizens determines the success of the new liberal democracy based on the level of the quality of life they are able to attain. In other words, liberal democracy requires a responsive government that levels the socio-economic playing field to facilitate broadened political participation. This gives a specific role to the liberal democratic state in that it must keep in touch with its citizens to ensure that it is able to meet their demands and needs as expressed through the channels provided by the institutions and mechanisms of the democratic process for a liberal democratic political culture to germinate.
This chapter will deconstruct liberal democratic consolidation theory on two levels. Firstly, there is much focus on the institutional approach or the procedural tradition and its relationship to liberty, equality and the civic virtue. Therefore the first task at hand is outlining and discussing the institutional approach to consolidation in the liberal tradition. This is related to the crafting tradition in that one is creating a new political democratic dispensation mirroring a liberal democracy. The strong focus of liberal democratic consolidation on institutionalism denotes that liberal democratic consolidation is concerned with stability in the political system. It is imperative to assess the impact of institutional theory on a society in that it sets the procedural tone that a new liberal democracy must take.
The relationship between economic development and democratisation essentially attempts to deal with the substantive issues of liberal democracy. No state will be able to uphold a satisfactory level of regime performance if there is no form of revenue generated through economic activities. On the one hand, institutional development relates to the creation of liberty through creating the institutions necessary for political equality and liberty. Economic development and its relationship to democratisation, on the other hand, is essentially aimed at dealing with the substantive aspects in that practical31 equality in a truly practical sense must be facilitated through economic One needs to distinguish between practical and political equality. Political equality refers to individuals being equal in their vote, in the rule of law and so forth. Practical equality can be equated with increased sameness as posited by Sartori (1987).
development. This will enable the state to engage in redistributive activities to alleviate poverty, decrease the illiteracy rate, and ensure overall societal well-being.
The politico-cultural aspect of liberal democratic consolidation will be addressed in the next chapter. This is done merely to ensure that the current of focus of this chapter does not become too wide. Therefore the section dealing with democratic consolidation should be seen in two parts. This chapter is in essence constitutes part one, while part two will be dealt with in Chapter five. It is however important to note that the politico-cultural aspect relates to the normative values and commitments that a polity is required to display towards the new democratic order. It is also the centre of the crafting versus preconditions view in that the institutions, it is argued, will lead to a deep commitment of the polity to the new democracy, thus creating the liberal democratic civic virtue (Ethier, 1990; Di Palma, 1990; Diamond, 1999; and Dahl, 1989).
The first task with which this chapter is concerned is to deconstruct liberal democratic consolidation in the political institutionalisation approach. This will facilitate an understanding of the institutional criteria of liberal democratic consolidation theory as the foundation upon which a liberal, representative democracy is build. This is an essential first step as, scholars such as Diamond (1999), Huntington (1996), and DiPalma (1990) argued: new structures invariably entail new behaviour. Institutionalising liberal democracy is directly related to the procedural view of democracy in the liberal tradition. It is therefore essential to discuss the institutionalisation of liberal democracy and its associated procedures. This will impact on the changing relationship between political elites and the mass levels in that the liberal democratic procedures and institutions will determine the manner in which these groups interact with each other. It will also establish a foundation from which liberal democratic values in a socio-politico context will be transferred from political elites to mass level.
Institutionalising liberal democracy
The institutional approach to consolidation of liberal democracy has received much attention throughout the development of democratic consolidation theory in the liberal tradition, especially in the early 1990s with the fall of the communist bloc. In order to create a liberal democratic order, the institutions and processes of liberal democracy needs to be created by the political elites. It is through these institutions that political currency will become valuable through a deepening of democracy, political institutionalisation of political elites‘ behaviour, and regime performance (Diamond, 1999: 73). Deepening democracy, for Diamond (1999), stresses a move from authoritarian states to a state founded upon the principles of constitutionalism and rule of law. This in turn leads to the reinforcement of the formal representative and governance structures that underlie a liberal democracy. Indeed, for Diamond (1999), the foundation upon which enhanced political legitimacy and a liberal democratic political culture is build. The logic of Diamond‘s arguments rests on the assumption that political institutionalisation constructs reliable boundaries around political behaviour and consequently introduces an element of political stability necessary to manage uncertainty surrounding the democratic transition. This institutionalisation in turn assists in the germination of liberal democratic values such as tolerance, moderation, and loyalty to the liberal democratic regime and ensures political trust between the political elites and the masses (Diamond, 1999: 75). Therefore, the institutional approach facilitates the growth of a value system required for the implementation of liberal democracy.
Central to the institutional approach to liberal democratic consolidation is the democratic agreement as the outcome of the transition process (Di Palma 1990; Ethier 1990). For these authors, this signals the start of a commitment to management of interests and conflict through the use of various institutions and procedures as required by the liberal democratic process. The focus is thus firmly on the institutional approach to liberal democratic consolidation.
In fact, Di Palma (1990: 140 – 141) argued extensively that the democratic pact or agreement signifies the beginning of a new democratic dispensation where all parties involved are willing to use the structures to live in relative peace and share in the liberal democratic process. When various political stakeholders are involved in the transition process and are able to reach an agreement, then one can speak of liberal democratic consolidation. Therefore, central to the liberal tradition, once rational bargaining and compromise have been achieved, all that is left for the emerging liberal democracy is to become moderate in their political behaviour through the new liberal democratic institutions and adopt a commitment to those institutions. Di Palma (1990: 141) in contextualising liberal democratic consolidation posits that political institutionalisation of political behaviour, democratic habituation and the political re-socialisation of political elites and the masses must start after the democratic pact have been achieved. His view of liberal democratic consolidation has a three-fold task, similar to the argument posed by Diamond (1999). In order to achieve successful liberal democratic consolidation, institutions serve as a controlling factor in the behaviour of the polity and the political elites that facilitates the development of the liberal democratic habits in political behaviour, which will lead to the emergence of a new liberal democratic political culture. Consequently, for Di Palma, institutions are central to achieving liberal democratic consolidation in his conceptualisation of liberal democratic consolidation by drawing an inference between institutions and cultural and thus creating an environment conducive to the procedural view of liberal democracy.
Ethier (1990: 14) essentially adopts a conflict management perspective of liberal democratic consolidation. Her argument centres on the mitigation of conflict through liberal democratic institutions and processes as more civilised forms of competition. This, for Ethier results in solidarity, as competing interests must lead to a convergence of these interests and their respective groups. The themes of institutional conflict management and political cultural development are also highlighted. The basic premise of this argument is that institutionalisation of conflict through the procedural structures of liberal democracy will lead to greater identification with the new liberal democratic procedures and thus facilitate the unity within society that liberal democracy requires. Therefore, through democratic institutions in the liberal tradition one will be able to build a nation-state around the liberal democratic political order. This view is fundamentally flawed in that dedication to a liberal democratic dispensation will be based on the ability of the state to meets its obligations towards the citizens.
Di Palma (1990: 22 – 23) argued extensively for the use of institutionalisation to ensure relatively peaceful co-existence in the polity. Constitutional design, multipartyism, and structures that facilitate state-civic relations form the foundation of political crafting in an institutional sense. Di Palma (1990: 21 – 23) argued that although conditions for liberal democratic consolidation may be unfavourable, liberal democracy in an effort to curb oppression and reconstitute divided societies, must be encouraged through a process of political crafting geared towards deflecting authoritarian tendencies. Therefore, political crafting becomes essential to ensure the survival of the new liberal democratic order through its focus on inclusion and expansion of citizenship. Central to the expansion of citizenship is the commitment of political elites in creating the conditions necessary for political stability and inclusion, and entrenching a liberal democratic political commitment to those institutions.
His view of political crafting essentially relates to the management of diverse political interests through creating an institution that can facilitate co-existence of diverse groups in society underpinned by a political commitment of political elites to the institutionalisation of political life in the liberal democratic tradition. For Di Palma (1990), solidarity must be the underlying goal of political crafting in order to achieve liberal democratic consolidation. Essentially, rooted in the individualist tradition of liberalism, the primary objective of political crafting relates to establishing and developing political citizenship of those who constitute the polity within a given territory. Ethier (1990: 15 – 16) adopts a similar argument for consolidation through identifying five principles that favour liberal democratic consolidation. These principles are: (1) free expression of divergent interests due to an autonomisation of civil society; (2) the formation of a majority government and peaceful alteration of power; (3) the enhancing of legitimacy of organisations in civil society and efficient representation of political interests; (4) an accepted constitution; institutionalised means of engagement between state and civil society; and, (5) an expansion of citizenship through a deepening and effective recognition.
Constitutional democracy is the institution that leads to the realisation of these principles. The assumption is that political elites must create a constitutional democracy first, centralising the importance of negotiations, settlements and transition pacts. Ethier (1990: 11 – 12) consequently argued that agreements signal liberal democratic consolidation in that political life becomes institutionalised, it guarantees the liberty of the individual, gives realisation to the presence of fundamental liberties, and limits the behaviour of political elites through rules and procedures that guarantee fundamental liberties and rights. For Ethier (1990: 12) ―…constitutional democracy is reached when compromises between dominant actors and social groups are reached‖.
The institutionalisation of political life in the liberal democratic tradition underlies liberal democratic consolidation (Di Palma 1990 and O‘Donnell 1996: 37). These are, after all, the indicators that the newly created liberal democracy is likely to endure, or so the argument is posed. This is firmly rooted in the thematic evolution of liberal democracy and the associated concepts of liberty and political equality presented in Chapter 3. Institutions give an opportunity for participation and guarantees political equality in that each participant will have an equal chance to engage politically. This does not, however, relate to any issues pertaining to socio-economic or practical equality rooted in the tradition of the substantive approaches to liberal democracy.
Linz and Stepan (1996 (a): 14) identify three minimum characteristics of liberal democratic consolidation: (1) state, (2) free elections, and, (3) elected representatives that govern democratically. Central to the concept of stateness in this context is social cohesion and the presence of a national identity. In this sense, Linz and Stepan (1996 (b): 7) argue that in order to consolidate a democracy a state is needed first. For Linz and Stepan a lack of a state will undermine the achievement of liberal democratic consolidation, especially when one finds ―…an intense lack of identification with the state that a large group of individuals in the territory want to join a different state or create an independent state…‖. Linz and Stepan (1996) share similar views than that of Ethier (1990) and her concept of solidarity and Di Palma (1990) with his argument that the institutionalisation of political life in the liberal democratic tradition facilitates social cohesion through the expansion of politically inclusive citizenship.
Chapter 1 Introduction
1.1. Delimitation of the study
1.2. Motivation and Rationale
1.3 The research objectives
1.4 The context of the research
1.5 The processes of democracy development in the transitionology paradigm
1.6 The structure of the study
Chapter 2: Critical discourse analysis and liberal democratic consolidation discourse: Methods and techniques of the study
2.1. Discourse and content analysis: The textual level of critical discourse analysis
2.2. Critical discourse analysis and the contextual level of analysis
2.3. Interpreting discourse: Critical discourse analysis and liberal democratic consolidation theory
2.4. Summary of the method and process in conducting the critical discourse analysis
2.5. Concluding remarks
Chapter 3 Constructing the liberal democratic consolidation theory archive: The textual level of analysis-
3.1.1. Aristotle‘s Politics
3.2. Modern interpretations of democracy: The procedural and substantive traditions
3.3. Concluding remarks
Chapter 4 Creating liberal democracy – appraising liberal democratic consolidation’s institutions and regime performance
4.1. Institutionalising liberal democracy
4.2. Economic development and liberal democratic consolidation
4.3. Concluding remarks
Chapter 5 Creating liberal democracy: values, norms and behaviour of liberal democratic consolidation
5.1.Liberal democratic consolidation, regime performance, institutions and political culture
5.2 Culture and political culture
5.3 Cultivating the liberal civic virtue or cultivating cultural dominance?
5.4 De-cultivation of liberal civic virtue
5.5 Concluding remarks
Chapter 6 Revealing the metatheory of liberal democratic consolidation theory
6.1. Theory and metatheory: Assessing liberal democratic consolidation theory
6.2. The physical transmission of liberal democratic consolidation‘s metatheory
6.3. The social transmission of liberal democratic consolidation‘s metatheory
6.4. The linguisitic transmission of liberal democratic consolidation‘s metatheory
6.5. Concluding remarks
Chapter 7 Conclusion
7.1 On liberal democracy
7.2 On liberal democratic consolidation
7.3 Liberal democratic consolidation theory‘s ontology
7.4 The need to re-think liberal democratic consolidation theory
7.5 Liberal democratic consolidation theory or liberal democratic consolidation ideology?
7.6 Consolidating agonism?
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