Breaking the backsliding consensus: The uneven upswings and downswings of democracy in the Western Balkans

14th December 2023 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm
Sala Belvedere, Villa Schifanoia
Alessandra Caldini
Join Jelena Dzankic as she focuses on understanding the democratic development in transitional countries
Scholarship has examined the growing decline of democracy worldwide through references to democratic backsliding. Yet, can there be backsliding in societies where democracy never took off? Defining democracy as a wave-like process, this talk challenges the ‘backsliding consensus’ and offers an alternative analytical lens for understanding the democratic development in transitional countries. It then zooms in on the ‘promise of democracy’ in the Western Balkans, which has remained all but fulfilled. Brief democratising moments created illusions of moving towards liberal societies. Even so, continuous trade-offs between security, stability, and good governance resulted in an uneven flow of progress and regression of democracy.