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Democracy and Dictatorship: Rethinking Regime Categories in an Age of Populism

Sat, August 31, 8:00 to 9:30am, Marriott, Maryland A

Session Submission Type: Theme Panel

Session Description

Discussions of democracy and dictatorship often suggest a rather rigid boundary between regime categories. Yet the current populist moment has thrown much of the received wisdom into doubt. Populist movements that seek to speak on behalf of the people are often cast as undemocratic, yet the institutionalized oligarchies they seek to displace can also be seen as posing threats to democracy. In this context, the panel seeks to understand what the current populist moment can tell us about the categories of democracy and dictatorship. Is this binary a useful one? Are regime characteristics discreet or can they overlap? How might we conceptualize political change beyond the regime binary? By bringing together a broad range of democracy scholars, this panels aims to explore more nuanced approaches to understanding regime categories.

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