Iron Horses of Democracy

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Author: Ronja Tallmyren; [2020]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: A decline in railroad-building occurred in the 20th century, which made the world think of railways as something attributed to the 19th century. In the 21st century, however, so many new railway projects are planned all over the world, that I choose to call this ‘the world’s second wave of railway development’. Because of this, the development of the discipline studying railroads’ effects on democracy, peace and war has grown immensely in importance. I try to contribute to this discipline by studying railroads’ effects on democracy in small nation-states, and specifically in Jordan. I do this by conducting a theory-testing, comparative study, using the before-after research design and congruence method and by comparing Jordan with Sweden and Albania. My theory is that railroads lead to democracy and is constituted by several theories of effects of railways and Seymour Martin Lipset’s Modernization Theory. I show that railroads have promoted democracy or changes in democratic direction in all three of the studied cases and then discuss and compare these results in an analysis along with an answer to my question. I make some remarks about further studies and think that this essay is a precursor to future process-tracing studies.

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