¹ 4 - 2004
Karl T.L., Schmitter Ph.

Concepts, Assumptions and Hypotheses about Democratization (Reflections on Applicability of the Transitological Paradigm for the Study of Post-Communist Transformations)

The journal offers the translation of the paper which was presented by well-known American political scientists T.L.Karl and Ph.Schmitter at the Workshop on Regime Transformations: Transformations from Communist Rule in Comparative Perspective, Stanford University, November 15-16, 2003. The paper is focused on the issue of applicability of democratization theories derived from the cases of Southern Europe and South America, for the study of post-communist transformations. The authors thoroughly analyze the argumentation of the Eastern Exceptionalists and demonstrate that what underlies the argumentation is distorted understanding of the concepts, assumptions and hypotheses contained in what has come to be called “transitology” and “consolidology”. According to Karl and Schmitter, the fact that some post-communist countries have failed to democratize, testifies not so much to inadequacy of the transition/consolidation paradigm, as to the need for clarifying definitions and measurements of democracy so that we can be certain we are using the same concepts and metrics to identify similar events and processes. While admitting that the post-communist countries may have the characteristics of a specific case, the authors at the same time argue that the said countries’ features of similarity with other ones where democratization has recently occurred, are compelling enough to derive concepts, assumptions and hypotheses, test them and confirm or falsify them using all the relevant experiences of every region of the world.