Democratization is a field where unexpected and sudden events have repeatedly challenged conventional wisdom. For example, who in the mid-1970s would have foreseen the democratization of Cambodia, Albania, South Africa or East Timor? Our current wave of democratization is complex and diverse and understanding it requires a variety of theoretical approaches. Most of the literature on democracy assumes that it is the best form of government. Theoretical works on democratic transition and democratization have also emphasized the internal conflict resolution capacity of democracy. It has been reasoned that democracy reduces the likelihood of discrimination, especially of ethno-political minorities, and thus the possibility of political repression. However, the democratic peace theory has not been explicitly tested with reference to third world post-colonial states, where most internal violent conflicts take place. Certainly, there is a dearth of practical advice for policy makers on how to design and implement democratic levers that can make internal peace and stability endure in the South. This volume, drawing on the work of a variety of scholars, will contribute to identifying and understanding the challenges and opportunities of this democratization project to the peace and development of the world both at the domestic level in selected countries, trends in regions of the world, and in the global system of the post-Cold War Era.
Opportunities and Challenges