Modernization & Democracy

General Description

Modernization and Mobilization in Eurasia: During the past two centuries, the introduction of parliamentary and presidential institutions in traditional polities has often ended in mixed results: political modernization attempts were often interrupted by significant and long lasting institutional ruptures. Economic development and occupational transformations in traditional economies resulted in eras of transient electoral democracies and autocratic rule. Each of these episodes provide a fertile ground for testing hypotheses on the logic of political order: for example, why did Russia experience a revolution at the end of World War I, but similar attempts at initiating radical politics failed in Germany? Or why did autocratic stability in Iran failed to establish durable electoral authoritarianism prior to the 1979 revolution and after, while Turkish parliamentary politics increasingly shifted towards majoritarian rule after 2002? What are the elements of stability or dysfunction in the Chinese development trajectory?  In a comparative study of China, Iran and Russia in contrast to three shadow cases of Japan, Turkey and Germany, this project aims at elucidating a logic for the diverging paths of political organization in relation to institutional and historical legacies. Such a logic of democratic and autocratic breakdown has implications for ongoing political transformations of the popular rule in the Eastern and Western contexts.

Book Project
  • [Revise and Resubmit, Cambridge University Press] Political Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy
Tentative Table of Contents
  • Chapter 1: Preface
  • Chapter 2: Introduction: A Political Theory of Democracy and Autocracy, Summary and Definitions
  • Chapter 3: Partisan Politics and the Emergence of Democracy and Dictatorship
  • Chapter 4: Russia: Agrarian Electoral Mobilization and the Failure of Industrialist Integration to the Duma
  • Chapter 5: Germany: Unintended Consequences of Universal Suffrage and the Social Democratic Question
  • Chapter 6: Ottoman State: Electoral Reforms, Mobilization of the Periphery and Collapse of the Centralized Tanzimat Regime
  • Chapter 7: Iran: Traditional Mass Mobilization in the Service of the Constitutional Revolution
  • Chapter 8: China: Electoral Reforms and the Emergence of the Warlord Sub-States
  • Chapter 9: Japan: Exclusions from Oligarchy and Motives for Suffrage Extensions
  • Chapter 10: Britain: Strategic Extension of Suffrage?
  • Chapter 11: Extension to Other Cases, Austro-Hungarian Empire, France
Other Relevant Projects
  • Welfare or identity politics? On the logic of radical right mobilization
    • Surveys and survey experiment in Italy, 2019
  • Nationalism or welfare? Turnout mobilization in non-competitive elections
    • Survey experiment in Moscow, 2018 Link
  • The logic of niche parties’ ideological linkage and targeted redistribution to the underclass Link
    • Turkish electoral and socioeconomic national statistics under AKP 
  • ‘Political’ modernization theory and electoral engagement with bureaucratic authoritarianism
    • Historical statistics from the Iranian elections 1906–1975 Link
  • The political logic of redistribution in elite-induced democratizations
    • Russian privatization statistics 1992–1996 Link
Research Group at HSE
Working Group at EUI
Events, Courses, Related Projects
  • Organized Events
    • October 2019: Book Conference on Political Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy, Yale University
    • April 2018: Two-day workshop on Varieties of Democracy, HSE Moscow Link to Workshop Agenda
  • Teaching: Comparative Politics of Eurasia – Syllabus