Norris's objective is to explain why liberal democracy should be valued as intrinsically good for prosperity, welfare and peace, the core components of human security. In order to do this, she compares liberal democracy with other regimes or frameworks of governing the nation-state. Each regime constitutes government institutions, formal and informal rules of the game that have an impact on all the core components of human security meaning that each regime delivers different political outcomes such as availability of clean drinking water, provision of health, reduction of hunger or prevention of human crises.
Making democratic governance work
While regimes are moderately durable, they can also change in response to internal and external dynamics, coup d'etat, wars, or through political processes. In this respect, the author does a great job clarifying the different theoretical perspectives about regimes. This book adds to the debates around regime change, governance and democracy which drew the attention of the international community, in particular following the third wave of democratization and in the context of USA intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan to establish strategic development goals in those countries.
This debate was reinforced with the emergence of the "Arab spring". Norris's vision on democracy is influenced by her experience working from to as Director of the Democratic Governance Group at the United Nations Development Program. In this sense, she stated that "[D]emocratic governance can and should be valued as intrinsically good in and for itself. Citizens should be able to choose their own representative governments, exercising the basic right to determine their own fates, irrespective of any impact on their dimensions of development" X-XI.
The author reviews four theoretical perspectives developed in the literature that she considers, better explain the debate between governance and democracy.
Making Democratic Governance Work - Pippa Norris - Häftad () | Bokus
Firstly, she starts reviewing the "structuralist" theories, which suggest that development is driven by building enduring economic components such as human and physical capital. Structural conditions and democratization would be the result of societal modernization.
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Industrialization, enhancing living conditions, and increasing the literacy rate - all these create the conditions for democratization. Secondly, the "democracy-promoters" theories claim that strengthening democratic institutions such as elections, deepening liberal democracy and power sharing would generate the beneficial consequences that communities need. Various premises have been put into consideration. First, institutions of liberal democracy encourage elected officials to pay attention to human security.
However, in practice, liberal democracy often proves to be imperfect in each of these procedures.
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This is particularly so where party competition is limited. As a result electoral systems are manipulated or channels of participation are more skewed towards money than people. Second, democratic institutions are by themselves insufficient to achieve development goals. It is quite known that institutions of democracy can limit the abuse of state power but do not ensure the necessary capacity of leaders to implement effective public policies addressing social needs. Therefore, a merging of democracy and governance, particularly state capacity leads to achieving developmental goals.
The book is organized in three major parts.
The first part introduces various perspectives to expanding human security. These include: democracy-promotion; structuralist-view and governance capacity. The democracy-promotion perspective believes that government leader responsiveness and accountability are the key to the attainment of human security.
The structuralist-view suggests that development is determined by environment factors of a society.