Mapping Political Regime Typologies

Jeroen Van den Bosch
2014 Przegląd Politologiczny  
The research field of regime theory has seen a proliferation of different approaches and typologies to explain the ever-changing reality. This paper has created a typology of these regime typologies and their respective datasets in order to describe and analyze their various merits for research. Finally this paper maps various typologies according to their most common research areas. The aim is to maximize the application potential each of specific typology, highlight their limits and aid
more » ... imits and aid scholars in their selection of typologies for qualitative or quantitative research in order to get a better understanding of democratization processes or regime theories. W hile most researchers have been focusing on democracy and democratization, one cannot forget that many parts of the word and a huge chunk of the global population still live under authoritarian rule. One should bear in mind that the in-depth research on other regimes started surprisingly late for the discipline of comparative politics. The works of Hannah Arendt on totalitarianism, Robert Dahl's Polyarchy and Juan Linz's typology to separate democracies from non-democracies were very influential contributions in the 1960-1970s. As the third wave of democracy in the 1990s seemed to reach global proportions and succeed to diffuse the practice of elections as the only recognized form of legitimization around the world, researchers' susceptibility for the phenomenon of 'elections without democracy' resulted in the ground-breaking work of Steven Levitsky and Lucan Way to once more, break open the dichotomous approach toward political regimes and voice the need of clear concepts and typologies for further analysis. Their echo did not go unheard: In response to the growing amount of authoritarian regimes with a democratic façade (once labeled as 'democracies with adjectives' by Levitsky and Way), scholars developed new classifications and typologies in the second half of the 1990s. And, in addition, they built up enormous datasets of countries with various time frames and different scopes with the aim to apply and test their new typologies. This paper will portrait a typology of existing typologies and briefly discuss some recent examples of them from the literature. Its aim is to analyze the merits and limitations for the study and classification of authoritarian regimes, and hopefully aid scholars in their selection of typologies for qualitative or quantitative research in order to get a better understanding of democratization processes or regime theories.
doi:10.14746/pp.2014.19.4.8 fatcat:lzdfb4ldmjez3i3k62t4revcde