The Legacies of 1989, Violence in Mexico, and the Latest Thinking on the "Transition Paradigm" in New Issue of the Journal of Democracy

Jan 17, 2014, 13:08 ET from Journal of Democracy

January issue also features Pierre Manent on liberalism, Christopher Walker and Robert W. Orttung on state-run media, as well as essays on the EU, Afghanistan's constitution, and recent elections in Albania and Georgia  

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  A quarter-century has passed since the annus mirabilis of 1989. To mark this anniversary, the Journal of Democracy has published "The Legacies of 1989," a set of four essays that address varying aspects of the political situation in postcommunist Europe today—governance, popular dissatisfaction, civil society, and the lingering moral and psychological effects of Leninism. In a fascinating essay on the explosion of civic anger in Bulgaria that lasted for most of 2013, political scientist Venelin I. Ganev notes that while "democracy remains the only game in town, it is now dominated by unskilled players who push the boundaries of acceptable behavior and frequently commit serious offenses." The example of Bulgaria shows how elite misdeeds can transform a previously apathetic populace into a powerful political force.

Meanwhile, in Mexico, where levels of violence have long surpassed the threshold commonly used to define civil war, democracy appears to be intact, writes political scientist Andreas Schedler of CIDE (Mexico City) in "The Criminal Subversion of Mexican Democracy." Yet "the practical effects of the criminal violence … can be just as damaging to the democratic integrity of elections as the political violence that openly antidemocratic ideologues might employ."

Also in this issue, four leading voices on democracy—Larry Diamond, Francis Fukuyama, Donald Horowitz, and Marc F. Plattner—reconsider the "transition paradigm" in a lively roundtable discussion; Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Huq assess the performance of Afghanistan's constitution after ten years in force; and Pierre Manent finds reason for concern over the future of liberalism. The Journal's regional coverage continues with pieces on recent elections in Albania and Georgia, as well as an essay exploring the problematic intersection of national sovereignty and economic policy within the EU and its troubling effects on Europe's southern periphery.

Finally, Christopher Walker and Robert W. Orttung explain how authoritarian regimes exploit traditional media in order to maintain their grip on power. Their essay "Breaking the News: The Role of State-Run Media" has already been called a "must read" by the Council on Foreign Relations and has been excerpted in the Washington Post.

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The Journal of Democracy is published quarterly in January, April, July, and October. Members of the press who wish to receive electronic access to the current issue should contact Brent Kallmer at To subscribe to the Journal of Democracy, visit For more information, please visit the Journal of Democracy online or e-mail us at

SOURCE Journal of Democracy