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.


Thumbnail image of BernhardEdgell_DSF_June2019-converted.pdf

Supplementary material

Thumbnail image of BernhardEdgell_DSF_Appendix_June2019-converted.pdf
Online Appendix
Online appendix with supplemental information, robustness checks, and figures.


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