Comparative Politics

Democracy and Social Forces

Amanda Edgell University of Gothenburg
Michael Bernhard University of Florida
Popular struggles for representation and incorporation occupy a prominent place in our understanding of regime change. The role of social forces in democratization processes has, until recently, been difficult to study in a large-n framework. In this paper, we present a set of tests drawing on recent data advances at the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute and the Nonviolent and Violent Campaigns and Outcomes (NAVCO) project. While we cannot track and measure social forces like small-n researchers, we draw upon measures of civil society organization and mobilization as proxies. We examine the impact of civil society organizational capacity and anti-system movement activity to gauge the extent to which organized and mobilized social forces are responsible for the stability, backsliding, and deepening of democracy.
Supplementary material
Online Appendix
Online appendix with supplemental information, robustness checks, and figures.