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Svend-Erik SkaaningSvend-Erik Skaaning

Associate Professor of Political Science
Aarhus University, Denmark
Project Manager, Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)

“Dealing with Democratic Diversity”

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
12:30 pm - C103 Hesburgh Center

In this lecture, Skaaning revisits the debate on “democracies with adjectives.” As an alternative to the construction of diminished subtypes, he proposes a typology which, based on the attributes of electoral rights (free elections), civil liberties (freedom of speech, assembly, and association), and the rule of law, makes a hierarchical distinction between minimalist democracy, electoral democracy, polyarchy, and liberal democracy. Based on these distinctions, he demonstrates the existence of a stepwise sequence in the fulfillment of the three attributes. In today’s world, abidance to the rule of law hardly ever precedes respect for civil liberties, which almost never precedes respect for electoral rights. Against this background, Skaaning questions the potential of an “authoritarian” pathway to liberal democracy which privileges the rule of law over electoral rights.

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