What is it about?

The arguments we develop here draw from longstanding ideas concerning the source of war-making constraint among democratic states. Our first line of argument concerns the effect of democratic institutions on the political dynamics that lead to violent action. With respect to domestic political violence, we suggest that it is not representative institutions as such that constrain violence (since these are broadly common to all democracies) but rather institutionalized opportunities for political participation. We posit that meaningful political participation enables oppositional groups to express their grievances and so transform them into tractable political claims. The second line of investigation pursued here is cultural. It has been widely observed that democratic politics are guided by norms of non-violent conflict resolution. We propose that more specific moral and behavioural norms concerning deliberation and mutual justification (what democratic theorists term ‘deliberative cultures’) are more significant constraints on violence to the extent that they motivate parties in conflict to recognize one another and engage their respective grievances and claims.

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Why is it important?

This article offers the first systematic, longitudinal and cross-national assessment of the constraint democratic institutions place on domestic political violence.

Perspectives

Within this article, we empirically demonstrated that the most effective way for democracies to constrain political violence is with more democracy.

Dr Francesco Veri
Universitat Zurich

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This page is a summary of: The domestic democratic peace: How democracy constrains political violence, International Political Science Review, May 2022, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/01925121221092391.
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