Divided We Stand? Democracy as a Method of Processing Conflicts

The 2010 Johan Skytte Prize Lecture Adam Przeworski Divided We Stand? Democracy as a Method of Processing Conflicts

Adam Przeworski

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Conflicts, liberty and peace do not coexist easily. Through most of history, civil peace was maintained by the threat of force. Contemporary ideologues of authoritarian regimes maintain that political conflicts inevitably result in violence, and the founders of modern representative institutions in the West have shared this view. Yet we now know that political institutions can cope with conflicts, that conflicts can be structured, regulated and contained, and that purely procedural rules can be effective in processing conflicts. Most importantly, we have come to realise that choosing governments through competitive elections is the only way to foster political freedom in divided societies. Competitive elections support social peace by enabling political forces to think in inter-temporal terms. In turn, civil peace is maintained between elections when when opposition groups expect to be reasonably successful within the halls of representative institutions.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)168-182
    Number of pages15
    JournalScandinavian Political Studies
    Volume34
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 2011

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    peace
    democracy
    election
    political conflict
    political institution
    opposition
    regime
    threat
    violence
    history
    society
    Group

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

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