Defining and Measuring the Trajectory of Democratization

Andrew Reynolds

in Electoral Systems and Democratization in Southern Africa

Published in print January 1999 | ISBN: 9780198295105
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600128 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization

 Defining and Measuring the Trajectory of Democratization

Show Summary Details


This is the first of four chapters that discusses the theoretical underpinnings of the research on democratization in southern Africa that is described in the book. It qualitatively and quantitatively assesses the trajectory of the five case studies along the lines of their political stability, ethnic accommodation, and the long-term prospects for democratic accommodation. In attempting to find useful indicators of the trajectory of democratization in each of the five country case studies, six possible approaches are considered: political violence (the measurement of politically related deaths), economic indicators, political and societal indicators (political rights and civil liberties; media freedom and influence), electoral indicators (turnout; spoilt ballots), and ethnic accommodation (worsening ethnic and interregional relations, as exemplified by Zambia and Malawi; improving ethnic relations, as exemplified by Namibia and South Africa; and ethnic relations with an uncertain trajectory, as exemplified by Zimbabwe). Eight institutional indices of democratization are chosen from these: ethnic accommodation, political violence, economic performance, civil liberties, political rights, free media, electoral turnout, and spoilt ballots. The findings on these indicators for each case study are summarised in a table.

Keywords: case studies; civil liberties; democratic accommodation; democratization; economic performance; electoral turnout; ethnic accommodation; ethnic relations; indicators; institutional indicators; Malawi; media freedom; Namibia; political rights; political stability; political violence; politically related deaths; South Africa; southern Africa; spoilt ballots; Zambia; Zimbabwe

Chapter.  14851 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Politics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.