Review

Democracy’s backsliding in the international environment

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Science  04 Sep 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6508, pp. 1192-1196
DOI: 10.1126/science.abb2434

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Abstract

If the end of the 20th century was defined by the relatively widespread acceptance of democracy, the second decade of the 21st century is marked by concerns about backsliding in new and established democracies alike and by a notable decline in foreign support for democracy around the world. As democracy’s global tailwinds shift to headwinds, scholars have an opportunity to better understand how experience with even superficial forms of democratic institutions across a diverse set of contexts influences citizen behavior when formal democratic institutions erode or disappear. This shift also provides the opportunity to examine whether citizen movements alone—absent external support—are sufficient to check newly emboldened autocrats.

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