Democracy and Its Limits

Lessons from Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East

Edited by Howard Handelman and Mark Tessler

From the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies

Democracy and the process of democratization undoubtedly constitute the most significant theoretical foci of comparative politics at the close of the twentieth century. Some look hopefully for signs of democratic consolidation in areas such as Latin America and East Asia, while others remain skeptical regarding the authenticity or comprehensiveness of current democratic regimes.

The multidisciplinary essays in Democracy and Its Limits combine an appreciation of the progress made to date in Third World democratization with a sober assessment of structural and cultural factors that limit further progress toward procedural democracy in many parts of the world, such as China and much of the Middle East. The contributors to this volume assess the positive accomplishments of newly installed or restored democratic regimes, as well as the frequent failure of political democracies to achieve socioeconomic democracy. In avoiding both the euphoria of many early works on Third Wave democratization and the deep pessimism of many recent publications, this book presents a balanced perspective that is a welcome contribution to the field of comparative politics.

Howard Handelman is Professor of Political Science, Director of the Center for Latin America at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the author of Mexican Politics: The Dynamics of Change (1997).

Mark Tessler is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Arizona, the author of A History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (1994), and the co-author of Area Studies and Social Science: Strategies for Understanding Middle East Politics (1999).