Democratization as an emancipative process: the neglected role of mass motivations

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenÜbersichtsarbeitenForschung


Despite major differences, prevailing approaches in democratization research have one thing in common: they downplay the role of mass attitudes. This article criticizes the neglect of mass attitudes, arguing that it ignores the very essence of democratization. In light of human development theory, democratization is essentially an emancipative process, for it manifests human freedom by empowering people with civil and political rights. From this premise, the author concludes that democratization should be driven by emancipative forces in the population and that these forces are reflected in particular mass attitudes: liberty aspirations. Based on evidence from the Values Surveys, the analyses show that more widespread liberty aspirations facilitate progress and impede regress in the process of democratization. No other indicator including GDP/capita and social capital outperforms the effect of liberty aspirations on democratization. The article concludes that human development theory is useful because its emphasis on people empowerment highlights something that has been ignored in the democratization literature: emancipative motivational forces in the population.
ZeitschriftEuropean Journal of Political Research
Seiten (von - bis)871-896
Anzahl der Seiten26
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.10.2006
Extern publiziertJa