Political Science

Popular Politics and the Path to Durable Democracy

A groundbreaking account of how prolonged grassroots mobilization lays the foundations for durable democratization


Published (US):
Nov 22, 2022
Published (UK):
Dec 13, 2022
6.13 x 9.25 in.
4 b/w illus. 8 tables.
Political Science
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When protests swept through the Middle East at the height of the Arab Spring, the world appeared to be on the verge of a wave of democratization. Yet with the failure of many of these uprisings, it has become clearer than ever that the path to democracy is strewn with obstacles. Mohammad Ali Kadivar examines the conditions leading to the success or failure of democratization, shedding vital new light on how prodemocracy mobilization affects the fate of new democracies.

Drawing on a wealth of new evidence, Kadivar shows how the longest episodes of prodemocracy protest give rise to the most durable new democracies. He analyzes more than one hundred democratic transitions in eighty countries between 1950 and 2010, showing how more robust democracies emerge from lengthier periods of unarmed mobilization. Kadivar then analyzes five case studies—South Africa, Poland, Pakistan, Egypt, and Tunisia—to investigate the underlying mechanisms. He finds that organization building during the years of struggle develops the leadership needed for lasting democratization and strengthens civil society after dictatorship.

Popular Politics and the Path to Durable Democracy challenges the prevailing wisdom in American foreign policy that democratization can be achieved through military or coercive interventions, revealing how lasting change arises from sustained, nonviolent grassroots mobilization.