Addressing democracy’s challenges
This volume set out to explore the widespread contention that new challenges and obstacles have arisen to democratization. The book’s chapters have analyzed this perceived phenomenon in its component parts, in order better to investigate critically if new challenges to democracy really have emerged, and, if so, in what form and to what degree. A number of very diﬀerent factors tend to get thrown into the mix and sometimes conﬂated when the so-called ‘pushback’ is debated; this book has consequently been predicated on the contention that each part of the overall picture must be examined with greater precision. This concluding synthesis draws out from the preceding chapters a number
of select points that add nuance to our understanding of democracy’s new challenges, and that speak more speciﬁcally to how the challenges to democracy might be addressed. Here we revisit the diﬀerent components of the democracy puzzle presented in the opening chapter, namely the questions of competing ideologies, loss of morale, heightened opposition to democratization eﬀorts, doubts about Western democracy promotion policies and the eﬀects of democracy assistance, and the changing international context that requires established democracies to come to terms with an increasingly multipolar world. It is suggested that challenges might be distinguished and tackled at three levels: ﬁrst, what peoples and politicians can do to protect, preserve and improve their democracy and the prospects for democratization; second, the lessons for international policy-makers and democracy practitioners; and third, lessons for researchers and the directions that future research might most usefully take.