Events
03 oct 2020

A Cultural Theory of Autocracy-vs-Democracy - Online lecture by Christian Welzel



Online lecture by the WVSA Vice-President Chris Welzel

The Laboratory for Comparative Social Research (World Values Survey-Russia) at National Research University – Higher School of Economics held its next regular seminar on October 1 where the Vice-President of the WVSA Prof. Dr. Christian Welzel (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg) delivered a report “A Cultural Theory of Autocracy-vs-Democracy”.

Abstract 

Recent accounts of democratic backsliding are negligent about the cultural foundations of autocracy-vs-democracy. To bring culture back in, I demonstrate that (1) the countries’ membership in culture zones explains some 70 percent of the global variation in autocracy-vs-democracy and (2) that this culture-bound variation has remained astoundingly constant over time — in spite of all the trending patterns in the global distribution of regime types over the last 120 years. Furthermore, the explanatory power of culture zones over autocracy-vs-democracy roots in the cultures’ differentiation on “authoritarian-vs-emancipative values.” Against this backdrop, regime change happens as a result of glacially accruing regime-culture misfits — driven by generational value shifts into a pre-dominantly emancipatory direction. Consequently, the backsliding of democracies into authoritarianism is limited to societies in which emancipative values remain under-developed. Contrary to the widely cited deconsolidation-thesis, the prevalent generational profile in people’s moral orientations exhibits an almost ubiquitous ascension of emancipative values that will lend more, not less, legitimacy to democracy in the future.

Christian_Welzel_Autocracy-vs-Democracy.pdf [Download count:107]


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