What is the main Research Question/ Puzzle? What about the proxy/empirical questions?The topic of the thesis is democratization cleavages in 2 countries in Albania and Estonia. The theoretical link between democratization cleavages and presence or absence of political culture is highlighted by most of the researchers that have studied the democratization theories.
Causes of democratization and its sustenance has been primary focus area for students and intellectuals of political sciences since long (probably from the time of Aristotle) (M., 2012)Democratization process is considered an important process which is inevitably related to the development of a particular country. The more democratized the country is, the more developed it will be. The last wave of democratization process included many Southeast European countries emerging in the early 1990s by the communist regime. This wave also was spread in Albania as well.
For many countries, the transition process from one regime to another, from the communist regime to democracy, was successfully passed and these countries became fully democratized, meanwhile many other countries are lagging behind as hybrid regimes. Given the fact, much academic attention has revolved around the factors that have influenced the process of democratization by identifying some internal and external factors that might have facilitated the whole process by helping these countries encounter democracy earlier than some other countries. Inevitably raises a core question that remains widely unexplored, Why some countries democratize earlier and some others remain stuck in the middle of the road? This thesis explores theories of democratization and will discuss the characteristics faced by countries in transition to democracy.
It will also investigate the idiosyncrasy of two countries in between three different periods of time. This thesis will look at case studies and will apply the scholars’ theories for democratization regarding the political culture to see if those arguments fit transition process and how precisely have influenced democratization. Each country, Albania and Estonia had their own circumstances for their progress toward democracy, this thesis will find the common factors in these countries as well as the differences and will argue what was the causal or correlation for these countries that led Estonia on the path for democracy and Albania still in transition It is important to recognize the process of Democratization and to understand the progress of this process and its importance in the development of a country will be investigated for historical documents, textbooks will be analyzed different researches done by specific institutes, events, etc. Will be searched in the past history of Albania and Estonia as two countries that have the same historical past, two similar regimes for a period of about 50 years as well as after the 1990s both countries entered into the same democratic process.
Among most factors that have influenced the process of democratization, many scholars emphasize the role of political culture. One of the scholars, Larry Diamond (1994) has explored the relationship of political culture to democracy. His basic assumption is that democracy requires a distinctive set of political values and orientations from its citizens: moderation, tolerance, civility, efficacy, knowledge, and participation.
..According to him, the relationship between political culture and democracy is reciprocal.
(Vanhanen, 1997)Democratization takes place under conditions in which the resources have become so widely distributed that no group is any longer able to suppress its competitors or to mandarin its hegemony (Vanhan 1984a:18; 1990a;50)The puzzle of the thesisThe primary research question of the thesis is Why Albania did not democratize? This is a general research question that will be divided into two other specific empirical questions:1. Why Albania is stuck in transition for so long and has not democratized, while Estonia is a fully Democratized country, while both countries have emerged from the totalitarian regime at the same time. 2. How has political culture as an independent variable of democratization, affected the process of democratization in both cases, Albania and Estonia? Does Albania have undemocratic political culture and how has specifically affected this process?The study focuses on two countries respectively Albania and Estonia and provides a comparative study on the state and conditions of democracy. The analysis includes the use of historical data and variables from 1918, a period of time consistent with the formation of the New State both in Albania and Estonia, to the present.The purpose of the study is to identify or test hypotheses from longitudinal and cross-sectional correlation which better can help find out at what specific moment these two countries begin to take different roots of this process as well as what common and different characteristics did they have from 1918- till the present time.
The objective of the thesis indeed is to analyze the how variable of political culture has influenced this process. Political scientists usually try to explain political attitudes and behavior from two broad perspectives: (1) the cultural perspective, and (2) the institutional perspective (Mishler & Rose, 2001, 2005, also Letki, 2006; Denters, Gabriel, & Torcal, 2007)SELECTION OF CASESThis study will examine the factors contributing to the success of democratization in terms of its consolidation and sustainability in one post-communist country such in the case of Estonia and the factors which indeed have obstacle the democratization process in another post-communist country such as Albania.The methodology applied in the thesis is the inductive method of Mill and precisely Mill’s method of difference. The inductive method is a way of implementing systematic conclusions, wherein the support of separate and special facts comes the conclusion of a general trial, from the observation of concrete isolated cases and facts to the general conclusions. Method of Difference is Also known as: “most similar with the different outcome” (MSDO). The reason why I want to apply this method is that in fact Albania and Estonia are similar cases but with different outputs.
Albania ranked as a hybrid democracy with a rank of Democracy Score of 4.14 and Estonia as a consolidated democracy with a rank of Democracy Score of 1.93 according to Freedom House. Looking at the Mills inductive method that it will attempt to realize, it is focused, besides all common elements, to identify the additional element that may have influenced by causing successful democratization in the case of Estonia and may not have facilitated in the case of Albania.As two typical post-communist countries, Estonia and Albania have some similarities and at the same time, are distinguished from each other. However, their democratic development has varied considerably. These countries have experienced political and economic transitions towards democracy and free market capitalism. With the collapse of the communist regimes in Central and Eastern Europe in the late 1980 and early 1990s, the two countries selected as case studies in this thesis are diverse but share a similar set of historical experiences.
They are a product of the system that dominated Europe politics less than 100 years ago. They are relative latecomers to state and nation building, and, for that matter, to democracy. They have a common heritage of communist rule and after the collapse of communism in 1989 – 90 they embarked on a process of democratization. (Sten Berglund, 2013) They have some common denominator despite a common historical past communist regime for abort 40 years, they were all within the sphere of influence of the European Union, Estonia is already a member of the UE and Albania has always had a wish for closer cooperation with the EU.My central hypothesis sustains that democratization is expected to take place under a condition in which exist some preliminary parameters such as political culture and political attitudes among citizens and while they exercise these rights and obligations the spread of autocracy becomes difficult and help build up the democracy. I assert that political culture, political attitudes and behavior from the cultural perspective, and the institutional perspective did exist in Estonia and this is one of the promoters that helped democracy, meanwhile Albania does not have any political culture heritage and this is one of the causes that stand behind the unsuccessful democratization process in this country.
To test the hypothesis, the research follows a case-based approach which is focused on the systematic information collection and comparison of evidence in two cases to answer a narrowly defined research question and test hypotheses. Case-based research allows people to look at the complexities of specific cases and can yield interesting findings that contribute important knowledge to the social science (Roselle and Spray 35). Specifically, this is a comparative-case-based research project focusing on two similar cases and the relationship between a single dependent variable which is democratization, which occurred in the case of Estonia and did not in Albanian case and its relation with the components of the independent variable such as the political culture, attitudes and behavior identified in the scholarly literature.As two typical post-communist countries, Estonia and Albania share a commonplace and at the same time, are distinguished from each other. Their democratic development is widely different. Democratic development is defined in terms of institutionalized democracy.
Estonia has established a stable democratic political system, while Albania has faced a far more troubled and uneven democratization.The dependent variable of this study is the level of democratization in terms of its consolidation and sustainability. To this end, the level of democratization is measured through accessing the dataset.
The first task in the methodology session will be the comparative historical approach to provide an analytical perspective for the subjects under research from 1918 – till present and in this kind of approach can be overviewed in narrative technique different elements of political life as well as historical past for both countries. The second task in the methodology session in the first part of is to review, assemble, and supplement data for a wide range of democracy indicators. A large number of indicators will be used to gather information about the level and the root of democratization in both countries by identifying in this manner which instruments facilitated or inhibited the process through the years. The data will be collected from the country reports Freedom House, Democracy Barometer, Polity IV etc. Some common instruments that are used to measure democracy that can be found in all the up mentioned reports but mostly in Freedom House reports which will be under investigation are: – Political Rights:- Electoral Process- Political Pluralism and Participation:- Functioning of Government:- Civil Liberties- Freedom of Expression and Belief:- Associational and Organizational Rights:- Rule of Law:- Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights:To describe the process by analyzing these instruments in both cases, I follow a qualitative research design, an observational study using both longitudinal correlations, in observing the same variables of democracy during three different periods of time and at the same time I will use cross-sectional correlations by studying the same variables that facilitate democratization in specific historical moments. The third task of the methodology session will consist in identifying and examine by this way the independent variable, which according to my hypothesis is the presence or absence of political culture, behavior and attitudes among citizens that has facilitated the whole process of democratization in Estonia, and has hindered this process by the other side in Albania.
In the third task will be examined the democratic political culture by analyzing and comparing the following features – Diversity of political subjects and ideas, political pluralism;- Tolerance towards other people, communities, ideas, and developments, including a willingness to allow conflicting interests and opinions to be aired without opposition; – Readiness and ability of the majority of people to participate in political life;- Ability to understand what is going on in politics, comprehend the content of political choices and decisions;- Belief in the legitimacy of political institutions; – Political and interpersonal trust.The study will be extended in three time periods for both cases. 1) Between the cohort of time (1918-1941), where Estonia was proclaimed an independent state on 24 February 1918 and Albania also was proclaimed an independent state on 28 November 1912; 2) Followed by the communist era and the 3) the post-communist period (after 1990) where Estonia from 1 May 2004 is an EU member country and Albania still is writhing in its path.
What is the gap that you fill in the literature? What is the added value you bring to the existing debate?This PhD thesis is an important contribution to a better understanding of the specifics of the political culture of postcommunist countriesA satisfactory theoretcal explanation for democracy as well as for its lack would be useful because it could help pople to formulate consciuos strateges of democractization and because it would provime a theoretical baisi on which to make predictions of democracy in Albania.Are there any policy implications?What is new in your overall dissertation project that differentiates it from the existing literature?(n.d.).
M., C. (2012). Coppedge M.
Democratisation and Research Methods. Cambridge Univesrity Press.Sten Berglund, J. E.-K.
(2013). The handbook of Political Change in Eastern Europe (Vol. III). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.Vanhanen, T. (1997).
Prospect of democracy. Usa, Canada.