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Photo: “The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi attending the ASEAN-India Informal Breakfast Summit, in Singapore on November 15, 2018“, by The Government of India, licensed under GODL-India. Hue modified from the original

Croissant, Aurel, and Jeffrey Haynes. “Democratic regression in Asia: introduction.” Democratization 28, no. 1 (2021): 1-21.


Given Asia-Pacific’s diversity and the large variance of potentially relevant causal factors, the region presents social scientists with a natural laboratory to test competing theories of democratic erosion, decay and revival and to identify new patterns and relationships. This introductory article offers a brief review of the relevant literature and introduces the different categories of analysis that build the analytical framework considered in various forms in the special issue. The article discusses the reasons for the renewed pessimism in democratization and democracy studies and provides a survey of different conceptualizations intended to capture forms of democratic regression and the autocratization concept to which the contributors to this special issue adhere. We discuss how Asia-Pacific experiences fit into the debate about democracy’s deepening global recession and examine assumptions about the causes, catalysts and consequences of democratic regression and resilience in the comparative politics literature. Finally, the remaining twelve articles of this special issue will be introduced.

The Illiberalism Studies Program studies the different faces of illiberal politics and thought in today’s world, taking into account the diversity of their cultural context, their intellectual genealogy, the sociology of their popular support, and their implications on the international scene.