Introduction: Democratic Hopes and Challenges

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Western liberal democracy is in crisis. At the same time, since the end of the Cold War, new regions of the world and actors have risen to prominence. Contemporary discourse emphasizes, in particular, the rise of East Asia (including the Northeast and Southeast Asian sub-regions) and the empowerment of middle powers. This Special Issue of Asian Affairs: An American Review looks at the extent to which mid-sized East Asian states with significant democratic heritage embody hope for the liberal democratic project, and also the challenges they face. Furthermore, it considers how the analysis of the mode of interaction between state, economy and society allows a determination of the democratic conditions of any given country. The articles in this Special Issue originate from a project supported by the Asia Pacific department of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) exploring regional interdependencies of democratization in Asia. This introduction explores the theoretical framework of the project and elaborates further on case selection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalAsian Affairs(UK)
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020

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© 2019, Copyright © 2019 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • democracy
  • democratization
  • East Asia
  • middle power


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