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Sotiropoulos, Dimitri A. The Irregular Pendulum of Democracy. Springer Nature, 1 June 2023.


This book argues that the backsliding or stagnation of democracy should be interpreted in a wider perspective on irregular movements towards and away from contemporary liberal democracy. This a perspective couched by a metaphor, namely the ‘pendulum of democracy’, which the author has constructed to suggest that democratic regimes may swing between a democratic end (fully developed liberal democracy) and a semi-authoritarian end (competitive authoritarianism). The pendulum does not have a predictable frequency. Democratization may lead to irregular movements back and forth. It is easier to analyze such movements of the pendulum when democracy is not consolidated yet (for instance, in the three post-Yugoslav political regimes mentioned above), as democratic institutions and processes are not yet stable. For this reason, this book analyses the swing of unconsolidated democracy away from the democratic end in the cases of today’s Serbia and Montenegro and the swing back towards liberal democracy in the case of North Macedonia which – until 2017 – had been developing into a competitive authoritarian regime, but then embarked on the road to democratic recovery.

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.