chapter  8
Democracy, Democratization, and Civil War
BySuthan Krishnarajan, Jørgen Møller, Lasse Lykke Rørbæk, Svend-Erik Skaaning
Pages 9

In The Dark Side of Democracy, Michael Mann disturbingly claimed that the democratization processes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries had paved the way for large-scale ethnic cleansing. The arguments for why democracy may spur armed conflict relate both to the absolute level of democracy and to changes in the direction of democracy. With respect to democratization, prior scholarship has demonstrated that changes in levels of democracy increase the likelihood of armed conflict. Competitive politics often serve to politicize such conflicts, including most notoriously antagonisms revolving around ethnic divides. Autocracies use repression and cooptation to keep a lid on opposition, whereas democracies deal with societal grievances through political inclusion and public goods provision. Popular discontent should decrease with the level of democracy because political discrimination decreases and public goods provision increases. The new scholarship that has associated democracy and democratization with civil war onset is highly relevant both theoretically and empirically.