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V-Dem Lunch Seminar with David Delfs Erbo Andersen

Research profile seminar

David Delfs Erbo Andersen (visiting scholar 10-12 September) Title: Why Kinder and Gentler? Scandinavian Democratizations in Comparative Perspective

Abstract: The process of democratic development in Sweden, Denmark, and Norway during the 19th and early 20th centuries was characterized by remarkably low levels of revolutionary violence. This stands in contrast to a leading proposition that in Europe revolutionary violence was a prerequisite for liberalization and a permanent feature of subsequent democratization. This is all the more puzzling considering that the Scandinavian countries were sharply different and each had its own apparent disadvantage for future democratization when the era of mass politics took hold in the decades after the French Revolution: Denmark (and Norway) was ruled by one of Europe´s strongest absolutist monarchies, and Norway later had to struggle for nationhood under parliamentary rule, while in Sweden the land-owning nobility, democracy´s traditional enemy number one, was extraordinarily powerful.

In this talk, I will introduce my idea for a larger project aiming at explaining why, in contrast to most of the rest of Europe, Scandinavian democratizations were relatively peaceful. The main hypothesis is that the Scandinavian countries indeed took a uniquely peaceful path to democracy because of the impartial administration of, first, rural disputes and, in a second sequence, demands for democracy. The project will examine the hypothesis in comparative-historical studies of the Scandinavian countries, England, Prussia, and France. However, I will focus my talk on the part of the project that examines the hypothesis statistically by drawing on indicators of rural and income inequality and V-Dem as well as Historical V-Dem indicators of the degree of meritocracy and impartiality in the administration and the gradual extension of political rights, government accountability, and suffrage. I hope to get feedback on the project as a whole and the use of V-Dem and Historical V-Dem to examine the dual sequential hypothesis.

Bio: I am a second-year postdoc at the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University, where I also took my BA, MA, and PhD. My research primarily focuses on the determinants of democratic transitions and stability, in particular aspects of state capacity and bureaucratic quality more specifically. I am also highly interested in the political dilemmas that surround the building of strong states and legitimate nations. I use a multiple quantitative and qualitative methods, but in particular qualitative methods such as comparative history, causal process observations, and process tracing. My research has been published in Democratization, Government and Opposition, Social Science History, and the APSA Comparative Democratization Newsletter. I have been a visiting scholar at the University of Florida and the Quality of Government Institute at the University of Gothenburg.

Date: 9/10/2018

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Categories: Social Sciences

Organizer: Department of Political Science/V-Dem

Location: B336, Stora Skansen

Contact person: Natalia Stepanova

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