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Contribution to Book
State-in-Society Theory of Democratization: Insights from the Japanese Experience
The Everyday Life of the State: A State-in-Society Approach (2013)
  • Mary Alice Haddad, Wesleyan University
How do totalitarian regimes democratize? How does an undemocratic country transform its polity such that democratic values and practices become integral parts of its political culture? These are some of the most pressing questions of our time, and they are not easily answered by the current dominant approaches to the study of politics, which tend to divide the study of politics into studies of the state (government) on the one side and studies of society (everything that is not the government) on the other. By their very nature, totalitarian regimes strive to merge state and society: state institutions penetrate and co-opt social organizations in order to bend them to the wishes of the ruling regime; rulers and their cadres are often members of a single social grouping, whether family, clan, or sect, so their rise to power represents the co-optation of governmental institutions by one particular group. As daily newspaper headlines and considerable research attests, the process of democratization is a complex one requiring far more than adopting particular governmental institutions or social values. To understand how these kinds of regimes democratize, political scientists must move beyond old ways of inquiry. These questions are examined by looking at the case of democratization in postwar Japan through the lens of the state-in-society framework. The Japanese experience and the state-in-society framework can be used to develop a new approach to the study of democratization, one that is particularly useful for explaining the democratization process outside of the West.
  • democracy,
  • democratization,
  • Japan,
  • East Asia,
  • civil society,
  • volunteering,
  • state-society relations
Publication Date
July 15, 2013
Adam White
University of Washington Press
Citation Information
Mary Alice Haddad. "State-in-Society Theory of Democratization: Insights from the Japanese Experience" The Everyday Life of the State: A State-in-Society Approach (2013)
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