Democracy in the South

Participation, the State and the People

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Traditionally, studies on democracy have focused on the orthodox so-called Northern models of democratic governance, and within this framework, the extent to which Southern models are considered democratic. Democracy in the South is the first truly international collaboration that draws attention to the complex problems of democratic consolidation across the majority world. Nine case studies, three each from Africa, Latin America and Asia, shed light on the contemporary challenges faced by democratizing countries, mostly from the perspective of emerging theorists working in their home countries.




This book illustrates that no governmental system can represent a perfect embodiment of people’s power. The voice of the people, their proper representation in government, the separation of powers between legislative, executive and judicial branches, the accountability of the rulers and the transparency of the government are all well-established positive postulates, but they are always nuanced in historical and cultural specifics. Democracy has different meanings for different communities, and it is certainly not without deficiencies as a mode of ruling. Yet there seems to be little normative alternative. As Winston Churchill once said, “Democracy is the worst form of government except all other forms that have been tried from time to time.”


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