Political science scholars consider the four-volume work Transitions from Authoritarian Rule to be a foundational text for studying the process of democratization, specifically in those cases where an authoritarian regime is giving way to some form of democratic government. The most important of the four books is without a doubt the fourth volume, Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies, also known as "the little green book."Transitions from Authoritarian Rule was the first book in any language to systematically compare the process of transition from authoritarianism across a broad range of countries. Political democracy is not the only possible outcome. Guillermo O'Donnell, Philippe C. Schmitter, and Laurence Whitehead emphasize that it's not the revolution but the transition that is critical to the growth of a democratic state. This ground-breaking insight remains highly relevant as the ramifications of the Arab Spring continue to play out.This reissue features a new foreword by Cynthia J. Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Abraham F. Lowenthal, founding director of the Latin American Program, who wrote the original volume's foreword.
Guillermo O'Donnell was the Helen Kellogg Professor of Government and International Studies at the University of Notre Dame until his death in 2011. Philippe C. Schmitter is emeritus professor in the Department of Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute. Laurence Whitehead is an Official Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, and director of the Mexican Studies Programme.
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