Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Democratic consolidation may be described as the process of defining and firmly establishing the essential characteristics (and adjusting the secondary ones) of the structures and norms inherent in a democratic regime, which comes about also, but not exclusively, with the passage of time. Institutions, procedures, practices, customs, and routines are defined and adapted, and at the same time, the structures and regulations for the peaceful resolution of conflicts become accepted, thus strengthening the regime's legitimization. In short, consolidation is one of the possible outcomes arising out of the introduction of democracy: This may result not only in a fully functioning democracy but also in its bare survival or in a new crisis of the political system and a subsequent shift toward authoritarianism. This entry defines democracy and clarifies the principal meanings of consolidation used in this analysis. After a brief discussion of some criticisms of the concept, the entry examines ...