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The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Polarizing Polities: A Global Threat to Democracy

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November 2019 | 127 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
The conventional approach to the study of polarization primarily addresses the distance and difference between voters or political parties on policy issues. Societies become “perniciously” polarized when they divide into mutually antagonistic “Us vs. Them” camps and this antagonism extends into social relationships and becomes part of one’s social identity. Loyalty and alignment to one’s own camp can result in a self-perpetuating logic that potentially undermines democratic norms. 

This volume of The ANNALS explores eleven country case studies of pernicious polarization, and its resulting obstinate political blocs and its effects on democracy. By examining the emotional and identity facets of polarization and the role of political entrepreneurs who use polarizing discourse for their own instrumental ends, this volume offers insight into the causes of pernicious polarization and possible policies to prevent it. 

Murat Somer and Jennifer McCoy
Introduction: Transformations through Polarization and Global Threats to Democracy
Democratic Collapse and Return of Old Elites
Prajak Kongkirati
From Illiberal Democracy to Military Authoritarianism: Intra-Elite Struggle and Mass-Based Conflict in Deeply Polarized Thailand
Democratic Erosion under New Elites
Murat Somer
Turkey: The Slippery Slope from Reformist to Revolutionary Polarization and Democratic Breakdown
María Pilar García-Guadilla and Ana L. Mallen
Polarization, Participatory Democracy, and Democratic Erosion in Venezuela’s Twenty First Century Socialism
Federico Vegetti
The Political Nature of Ideological Polarization: The Case of Hungary
Hubert Tworzecki
Poland: A Case of Top-Down Polarization
Democratic Careening and Gridlock
Aries A. Arugay and Dan Slater
Polarization without Poles: Machiavellian Conflicts and the Philippines’ Lost Decade of Democracy, 2000–2010
Alan Abramowitz and Jennifer McCoy
United States: Racial Resentment, Negative Partisanship and Polarization in Trump’s America
Yannis Stavrakakis and Ioannis Andreadis
Dynamics of Polarization in the Greek Case
Tahmina Rahman
Party System Institutionalization and Pernicious Polarization in Bangladesh
The Illusory Promise of Democratic Reform: Success and Failure
Roger Southall
Polarization in South Africa: Toward Democratic Deepening or Democratic Decay?
Adrienne LeBas and Ngonidzashe Munemo
Elite Conflict, Compromise, and Enduring Authoritarianism: Polarization in Zimbabwe, 1980 to 2008
Nancy Bermeo
Reflections: Can American Democracy Still Be Saved?
Jennifer McCoy and Murat Somer
Toward a Theory of Pernicious Polarization and How It Harms Democracies: Comparative Evidence and Possible Remedies

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