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Politische Vierteljahresschrift

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 357–384 | Cite as

„Wie Demokratien sterben“: Amerikanische Politik in der Ära von Präsident Donald Trump

  • Christian TuschhoffEmail author
Literaturbericht
  • 41 Downloads

Zusammenfassung

In ihrem aufsehenerregenden Buch über „wie Demokratien sterben“ zeigen Levitsky und Ziblatt aus vergleichender Perspektive, dass selbst konsolidierte Demokratien wie die USA erodieren können. Sie sehen in der gezielten Unterminierung demokratischer Normen die wichtigste Ursache und lösten damit eine grundlegende Debatte in der Fachwelt aus, die hier zusammengefasst wird. Dabei wird außerdem auf neuere Forschungen zur Oligarchie in den USA sowie auf Arbeiten in der Tradition der Policy-Forschung verwiesen, die zeigen, wie asymmetrische Kräfteverhältnisse in der amerikanischen Gesellschaft das demokratische System unterspülen. Soziale Ungleichheit und Ungerechtigkeit seien die Folgen asymmetrischer Partizipationsmöglichkeiten. Strategisch handelnde Eliten verfolgten ihre Interessen skrupellos und letztendlich auf Kosten demokratischer Prinzipien. Die verschiedenen Forschungsprogramme zur Normerosion einerseits und zur sozialen und partizipatorischen Ungleichheit andererseits zeigen, dass auch in der (vergleichenden) Demokratieforschung zwei konkurrierende Sozialtheorien die Fachdebatte prägen: Dem Rationalismus zufolge, verfolgen Akteure unveränderliche Präferenzen. Sie tragen Konflikte aus, sodass Demokratie als Folge von Präferenzaggregation entsteht. Dem Konstruktivismus zufolge sind Präferenzen von Akteuren dagegen transformierbar. Die Folge der Austragung von Konflikten ist weniger die Interessendurchsetzung, sondern eher die Kompromissfindung jenseits von Aggregation. Politische Debatten erzeugen im Zuge der Konfliktaustragung darüber hinaus geteilte demokratischen Normen über angemessenes Verhalten in der Demokratie, sodass überdies soziale Gemeinschaften entstehen. Die weitere Demokratieforschung wird deshalb zeigen müssen, ob konsolidierte Demokratien eher als Folge von dysfunktionaler Interessendurchsetzung oder als Folge der Erosion von Normen und sozialen Gemeinschaften sterben.

Schlüsselwörter

Demokratie USA politische Kultur Eliten Sozialtheorie 

“How Democracies Die”: American Politics Under President Donald Trump

Abstract

In their startling book on “how democracies die” Levitsky and Ziblatt show from a comparative perspective that even consolidated democracies like the United States might erode. They identify the deliberate destruction of democratic norms as the key cause of erosion and thus triggered a vigorous debate within political science that is recounted here. Moreover, this literature report adds arguments that the US moves towards an oligarchy as well as policy analysis research demonstrating how asymmetrical balance of power relations within the American society undermine the democratic system. Social inequality and injustice are viewed as consequences of asymmetrical opportunities of political participation. Acting strategically certain elites pursue their interests uninhibitedly and ultimately at the expense of democratic principles. Distinct research programs on norm erosion on the one hand and on social and participatory inequalities on the other demonstrate that the comparative democracy analysis is based on two contending social theories: According to rationalism actors pursue invariant preferences. Democracy emerges when actors conflict and are forced to aggregate their interests. According to constructivism preferences of actors can be transformed. The consequence of the pursuit of conflicts is less the assertion of interest as finding compromise solutions above and beyond aggregation and the emergence of shared norms of democratic appropriateness as well as a social (or democratic) community. Further research on democracy will have to show whether consolidated democracies die as a result of dysfunctional pursuit of preferences or the erosion of norms and social communities.

Keywords

Democracy USA political culture elites social theory 

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© Deutsche Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BerlinDeutschland

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