[Autom. eng. transl.] If we look at the vast historical process of the worldwide spread of liberal democracy from the top of the last few years, the results often do not appear to match the hopes raised. Scholars recognize a "retreat" of democratic transitions and numerous involutions towards more nuanced and complex forms of authoritarianism and hybrid or "semi-democratic" regimes. Moreover, even in the stable and consolidated democratic countries of the West, with increasing frequency there are symptoms of crisis and phenomena of disintegration, inefficiency and emptying of the traditional institutions of representative democracy. In this context, the democratic exception embodied by the Middle East and North Africa can take on a new and different meaning, and be loaded with theoretical meanings of great interest, especially after the troubled experience of the 'Arab Springs'. The different hotbeds of crisis that afflict representative liberal democracy thus pave the way for a new theoretical problem: to what extent are the concepts of liberal democracy and democratic transition capable of accounting for the political transformations taking place in the world? What is their usefulness as descriptive and explanatory categories of the phenomena of conflict, emancipation, participation, political change and institutional transformation that occur in North Africa and throughout the Middle East? Indeed, it is underlined that a crisis point emerges in the capacity of the empirical theory of democracy to be also a realistic theory and not only a prescriptive and normative model of reference. The study of political transformations taking place in North Africa, therefore, can offer its most important contribution, not so much if we observe the changes underway and measure their deviations from pre-established models, with the relative policy indications to «fill the deficit »Which still exists, as well as in the ability to stimulate an expansion of our theoretical knowledge and a revision of general concepts and interpretative schemes. We must not only ask ourselves if and how democracy can represent the outlet of the political crisis in North Africa, but also how the political crisis in North Africa can lead us to reformulate our idea of democracy.
|Translated title of the contribution||[Autom. eng. transl.] Democratization, modernization and self-government. A theoretical-comparative perspective on North Africa and the West|
|Title of host publication||Democrazia inquieta. Popoli, religioni e partiti tra Oriente e Occidente|
|Number of pages||28|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|