Institute of Political Science

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12/10/2017

Institutskolloquium: Tyrannies of Majorities

Andreas Schedler (CIDE) at Wednesday, 13.12.17 at 15 h c.t. at Room 124, IfP

Since the invention of modern democracy, its supporters as well as its detractors have alerted against the dangers of “majoritarian tyranny.” Considering its centrality in almost two centuries of democratic debate, the concept has received remarkably little analytical attention. It is commonly treated as a simple, commonsensical concept whose meaning we can take as self-evident. In this exercise of conceptual explication, I intend to elucidate it internal structure and variation by discussing three logical presuppositions: (1) the performance of tyrannical acts, (2) the exclusive targeting of minorities, and (3) collective action by the majority. Combining these continuous dimensions opens a conceptual space that accommodates a surprising variety of tyrannies of majorities.

Andreas Schedler is professor of political science at the Center for Economic Teaching and Research (cide) in Mexico City, as well as currently a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Political Science of the Eberhard Karls University Tübingen. He earned his PhD from the University of Vienna and has been a resident of Mexico since 1997. A leading comparative scholar of democracy, democratization, and authoritarianism, he has conducted research on democratic consolidation and transition, authoritarian elections, anti-political-establishment parties, accountability, and organized violence. He is also known for his methodological work on concept analysis and cross-national measurement. He is author of The Politics of Uncertainty: Sustaining and Subverting Electoral Authoritarianism (Oxford University Press, 2013), In the Fog of War: Citizens and Organized Criminal Violence in Mexico (CIDE, 2015, in Spanish), as well as of numerous articles in scholarly journals including Comparative Political Studies, Perspectives on Politics, Journal of Democracy, European Journal of Political Research, Party Politics, Journal of Political Philosophy, and Political Research Quarterly. His current research focuses on the gradual subversion of democracy by illiberal governments.

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