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AftershocksGreat Powers and Domestic Reforms in the Twentieth Century$
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Seva Gunitsky

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172330

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172330.001.0001

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From Crests to Collapses

From Crests to Collapses

The Sources of Failure in Democratic Waves

(p.33) 2 From Crests to Collapses

Seva Gunitsky

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the causes of failed consolidation embedded in democratic waves. The first half outlines the four recurring mechanisms that create counterwaves—shifting hegemonic pressures, collapsing ad hoc coalitions, autocratic adaptation, and bounded rationality. The second half examines the book's arguments in light of some alternatives, particularly domestic explanations and theories of diffusion. It argues that these failures happen because the same systemic pressures that create powerful bursts of regime change also spread to countries that are unlikely to sustain any reforms once the shock passes. The chapter therefore combines two large but rarely intersecting literatures—on democratic waves and on democratic reversals—into a single explanatory framework.

Keywords:   democracy, democratic waves, hegemonic pressure, regime change, democratic reversal

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