Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore: Comparing Theories of Democratization

University essay from Högskolan i Halmstad/Sektionen för hälsa och samhälle (HOS)

Author: Albin Ringstad; [2013]

Keywords: ;


Democratization is a phenomenon which we have seen in many parts of the world. This thesis investigates the democratic processes in Taiwan and South Korea and looks at the reasons why Singapore did not democratize. It does so by comparing four theories of democratization. The first theory is the Modernization theory, in which economic development cause democracy. The Second is the Transition theory, in which deliberate elite decisions matter. The third used theory is the Structural theory, in which class struggles are emphasized. The final theory is the International Factors, which basically is an approach that looks at what international factors can help account for the occurred development. The method used is the Structured, Focused Comparison. Further, it is also a literature study, where the material analyzed is material written by renowned scholars within the field of democratization. This study finds that not any of these theories can explain democratization, but that they are all important factors when it comes to democratization, and can be used rather as tools than frameworks. However, it does acknowledge the need for all theories, but also argues for another set of factors that works as a compliment to the already established theories, such as legitimacy, in which the author argues that perhaps Singapore does not have to democratize because their rule seems to be legitimate by Singaporean people. It further builds to some extent on the current debate in democratization studies about universalism and sequentialism, where the author argues in favor of the universalists by showing why there are no preconditions.

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