137 episodes

Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

Democracy Paradox Democracy Paradox

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Is it possible for a democracy to govern undemocratically? Can the people elect an undemocratic leader? Is it possible for democracy to bring about authoritarianism? And if so, what does this say about democracy? ​​My name is Justin Kempf. Every week I talk to the brightest minds on subjects like international relations, political theory, and history to explore democracy from every conceivable angle. Topics like civil resistance, authoritarian successor parties, and the autocratic middle class challenge our ideas about democracy. Join me as we unravel new topics every week.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Naunihal Singh on the Myth of the Coup Contagion

    Naunihal Singh on the Myth of the Coup Contagion

    Sometimes I found people who I was talking to and their coup happened after an elected leader became less democratic. They could very convincingly tell me that their coup was in response to those actions. Then I'd find out that they started plotting the coup years in advance or entertaining it when the situation was very different.
    Naunihal Singh

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    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Naunihal Singh is associate professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and the author of Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups (2014). He recently wrote the article "The Myth of the Coup Contagion" in the Journal of Democracy.

    Key Highlights
    Introduction - 0:43Brief History of Coups - 3:11Anti-Coup Norm - 10:33Conditions for a Coup - 18:33Reinforcing the Anti-Coup Norm - 35:53
    The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Navy, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.

    Key Links
    "The Myth of the Coup Contagion" by Naunihal Singh in the Journal of Democracy
    Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups by Naunihal Singh
    Learn more about Naunihal Singh


    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way on the Durable Authoritarianism of Revolutionary Regimes
    Michael Miller on the Unexpected Paths to Democratization
    More Episodes from the Podcast


    More Information
    Democracy Group
    Apes of the State created all Music
    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com
    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox, Facebook, Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast
    100 Books on Democracy
    Democracy Paradox is part of the Amazon Affiliates Program and earns commissions on items purchased from links to the Amazon website. All links are to recommended books discussed in the podcast or referenced in the blog.
    Support the show

    • 40 min
    Naunihal Singh on Why He Studies Coups

    Naunihal Singh on Why He Studies Coups

    Naunihal Singh is associate professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and the author of Seizing Power: The Strategic Logic of Military Coups (2014). He recently wrote the article "The Myth of the Coup Contagion" in the Journal of Democracy. Please note the views expressed are his own and do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Navy, Department of Defense, or U.S. Government.

    On Tuesday's full-length episode he discusses the reasons why coups happen, why they happen less often, and how that could change. In this bonus content, he talks about what drew him to the study of coups and how his research allowed him to approach the topic differently.

    Mohammed Ali Kadivar on Paths to Durable Democracy and Thoughts on the Protests in Iran

    Mohammed Ali Kadivar on Paths to Durable Democracy and Thoughts on the Protests in Iran

    It's been exciting and it's been overwhelming. It's exciting to see people are rising, to see the amount of bravery on the streets, how these young women and men will stand up against the armored police with bare hands. It's been inspiring.
    Mohammad Ali Kadivar

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    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Mohammad Ali Kadivar is an assistant professor of sociology and international studies at Boston College. He is the author of the book Popular Politics and the Path to Durable Democracy.

    Key Highlights
    Introduction - 0:38Democratization Examples: Egypt and South Africa - 3:20Democratization and Durable Democracy - 11:12Nonviolence and Democratization - 23:33Part 2: The Iranian Protests - 38:49
    Key Links
    Popular Politics and the Path to Durable Democracy by Mohammed Ali Kadivar

    "Sticks, Stones, and Molotov Cocktails: Unarmed Collective Violence and Democratization " by Mohammed Ali Kadivar and Neil Ketchley in Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World

    Learn more about Mohammed Ali Kadivar

    Democracy Paradox Podcast
    Michael Coppedge on Why Democracies Emerge, Why They Decline, and Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem)

    Mark Beissinger on Urban Civic Revolutions

    More Episodes from the Podcast

    More Information

    Democracy Group

    Apes of the State created all Music

    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com

    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox, Facebook, Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast

    100 Books on Democracy
    Democracy Paradox is part of the Amazon Affiliates Program and earns commissions on items purchased from links to the Amazon website. All links are to recommended books discussed in the podcast or referenced in the blog.
    Support the show

    • 59 min
    Mohammed Ali Kadivar on Studying Democracy in Iran

    Mohammed Ali Kadivar on Studying Democracy in Iran

    Mohammad Ali Kadivar is an assistant professor of sociology and international studies at Boston College. He is the author of the book Popular Politics and the Path to Durable Democracy.

    He's the featured guest on Tuesday's podcast where we talk about how to establish a durable democracy and the recent Iranian protests. This bonus material was recorded in August before the recent protests in Iran. We talk about his background as a scholar growing up in Iran where he studied political science as an undergraduate and graduate student.

    Michael Ignatieff Warns Against the Politics of Enemies

    Michael Ignatieff Warns Against the Politics of Enemies

    Democracy is the stage in which we mount the battle for power and we fight out our competing visions of what would be good for a society. But at the same time, the most dangerous of all things we try to do in a democracy is argue about what is democratic and what is undemocratic.
    Michael Ignatieff

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    Make a one-time Donation to Democracy Paradox.

    A full transcript is available at www.democracyparadox.com.

    Michael Ignatieff is a historian and former Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He has served as rector and president of Central European University, and is the author, most recently, of On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times. He recently wrote, "The Politics of Enemies" in the Journal of Democracy.

    Key Highlights
    IntroductionWhat is democracy? 3:15Role of Politicians - 18:05January 6th - 21:06The Politics of Enemies - 23:51Consolation After Electoral Losses - 34:55
    Key Links

    "The Politics of Enemies" by Michael Ignatieff in the Journal of Democracy

    On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times by Michael Ignatieff

    Learn more about Michael Ignatieff

    Democracy Paradox Podcast

    Jason Brownlee Believes We Underestimate Democratic Resilience

    Jeremi Suri on America’s Unfinished Fight for Democracy

    More Episodes from the Podcast

    More Information

    Democracy Group

    Apes of the State created all Music

    Email the show at jkempf@democracyparadox.com

    Follow on Twitter @DemParadox, Facebook, Instagram @democracyparadoxpodcast

    100 Books on Democracy
    Democracy Paradox is part of the Amazon Affiliates Program and earns commissions on items purchased from links to the Amazon website. All links are to recommended books discussed in the podcast or referenced in the blog.
    Support the show

    • 38 min
    Michael Ignatieff on Consolation in Politics

    Michael Ignatieff on Consolation in Politics

    Michael Ignatieff is a historian and former Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He has served as rector and president of Central European University, and is the author, most recently, of On Consolation: Finding Solace in Dark Times. He recently wrote, "The Politics of Enemies" in the Journal of Democracy.

    Tuesday's main episode will focus on what he calls the politics of enemies. However, this brief bonus content touches on his latest book On Consolation. It discusses on how consolation affects our politics and how it affects politicians.

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