Dictators seem all-powerful—until they’re not. Those brave enough to challenge autocrats have scored some impressive victories in recent months. But how did they do it? And how could other opposition movements succeed where they once failed?
Category: News & Updates
Activists are fighting for democracy’s freedoms across the globe. They do so at tremendous personal risk, facing arrest, imprisonment, and the fear they will never see their loved ones again. Read the inspiring words of former political prisoners from Tunisia, Russia, Egypt, China, Malaysia, and Burma.
Is global democracy really in freefall? Here’s what they think.
The following essays from the Journal of Democracy examine the roots of the dangerous trend of polarization and offer ways to repair our politics and bring citizens back together.
The Journal of Democracy has covered the “Women, Life, Freedom” movement since the protests first erupted. Following is a selection of essays on the protests in Iran and the key role women play in securing democracy and freedom across the globe.
Will artificial intelligence end democracy? Plus: Why global democracy is proving to be far more resilient than people think; how African church leaders became unlikely defenders of democracy; and the ways in which vast networks of hidden wealth are eating away at our democratic institutions.
President Volodymyr Zelensky is in Washington to rally support for Ukraine’s defense against Russia’s unprovoked invasion. As the war’s second year grinds on, the Ukrainian people are looking for Zelensky to help their country succeed, not just survive. Will Zelensky be able to shepherd Ukraine to victory?
Latin American voters are aggrieved, impatient, and eager to elect candidates who offer a break with the past—sometimes whatever that break may be. This factor, combined with high crime and middling economic growth, has led to wild swings and shrinking political rights. But can the region get itself unstuck?
The emergence of AI with superhuman capabilities will come far sooner than previously thought. As AI advances, so does the potential for harm—including grave risks to democracy and human rights.
Defending Democracy in an Age of Sharp Power explores how authoritarian regimes are deploying “sharp power” to undermine democracies from within by weaponizing universities, institutions, media, technology, and entertainment.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to overhaul the country’s judiciary has sparked unprecedented protests across Israel. Two experts explain the roots of the crisis and what it could mean for the future of Israeli democracy.
Leading experts explain the significance of Prigozhin’s rebellion and what it means for Putin, his regime, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Democratic institutions, norms, and practices have been under threat in India. Should the country’s democracy fail, it will affect not only the lives of 1.4 billion Indians, but also democracy movements around the world.
The forces that brought Erdoğan to power may be his downfall in Turkey’s May 14 elections. Here are a selection of key Journal of Democracy essays from the last two decades of his rule.
With India’s next general election just a year away, here are five of his Journal of Democracy essays that offer critical analysis of the world’s largest democracy at a crucial time.
To mark International Women’s Day, the Journal of Democracy looks at how women are shaping the fight for freedom.
Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began one year ago. The war has inflicted a heavy toll on Russia in addition to the mass carnage in Ukraine. But Ukrainians are fighting valiantly and finding creative means of resistance.
Ten of the former ambassador’s best JoD essays spanning the last thirty years.
The Journal of Democracy has analyzed democracy’s fortunes across the globe, from Ukraine to Afghanistan and the Philippines, from Hungary to Tunisia. Here are our top-ten most-read essays from 2022.
In 2022, we began publishing shorter, exclusively online pieces. No topic mattered more to you than Russia’s disastrous war in Ukraine. We also published essays from the sharpest minds on protests in China and Iran, instability in Pakistan, and more.
Pulitzer-Prize winning historian and Journal of Democracy editorial board member Anne Applebaum delivered the 19th Annual Seymour Martin Lipset Lecture, and then sat down for a conversation with Journal coeditor William J. Dobson. Read more here.
December 1, 2022
The 2022 World Cup has just kicked off in Qatar. Long before the first match, the small Arab monarchy made a bet that investing billions in the “beautiful game” might do wonders for their reputation, too.
As political polarization deepens in the world’s democracies, political violence is on the rise. And in the wake of these acts, conspiracy theories often bloom. We offer three essays that look at these forces that threaten to upend democracy, and what must be done to overcome them.
At the Chinese Communist Party’s Twentieth National Congress last week, Xi Jinping secured a third term as Party secretary. But the most important development wasn’t Xi extending his rule or the Party’s elevation of new leaders. Rather, Xi made clear that the era of Chinese economic growth above all else was over. Now the Party’s…
China’s Twentieth Party Congress opened this week in Beijing. President Xi Jinping is widely expected to cement his position as Chinese Communist Party leader for an unprecedented third term.
Larry Diamond, the leading scholar of democracy, helped to found the Journal of Democracy more than 32 years ago. “Democracy’s Arc: From Resurgent to Imperiled,” published on the eve of the war in Ukraine, was his final essay as our coeditor. But Larry penned numerous pieces for the Journal. Ten of these landmark essays are…
The International Forum for Democratic Studies’ Sharp Power Research Portal is a tool for researchers, journalists, policymakers, and activists to recognize patterns of authoritarian influence in several domains. It includes over 750 resources providing research, reporting, and analysis.
Tarek Masoud, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Democracy, is professor of public policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is the author of Counting Islam: Religion, Class, and Elections in Egypt (2014) and of The Arab Spring: Pathways of Repression and Reform with Jason Brownlee and…
December 10, 2021
On 3 December 2020, renowned China scholar Minxin Pei delivered the 17th Annual Lipset Lecture on Democracy in the World. Read his reflections on “Totalitarianism’s Long Shadow,” based on the lecture, in the April Journal.
On 23 January 2020, Journal of Democracy editorial board co-chairs Lucan Way and Steven Levitsky sat down with the Journal’s Brent Kallmer to discuss the new competitive authoritarianism that has emerged in some countries with relatively strong democratic traditions and institutions.
February 11, 2020
“To understand why liberal democracy is on the defensive,” writes William A. Galston, “there is no better place to start than the 30th-anniversary edition of the Journal of Democracy.” Read more in Galston’s full article on “Liberal Democracy’s Threats From Within.”
William (“Will”) Dobson, most recently chief international editor at NPR, has held senior editorial posts at Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and Slate. He is author of The Dictator’s Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy (2012). Read the full press release here.
January 9, 2020
At the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage, read Alence and Pitcher’s take on South Africa’s 8 May 2019 national elections, and stay tuned for an expanded analysis in the October 2019 JoD. Plus, read Alence’s 2004 Journal article (free through May 31) for a deeper look into the history of South Africa’s democracy.
Hong Kong law professor Benny Tai, who on April 24 received a sixteen-month prison sentence in connection with his role in the 2014 Occupy Central movement, reflected in the April 2019 Journal on the significance of the Tiananmen Square protests for Hong Kong’s democrats. Read a shortened version of his essay at the Diplomat.
May 1, 2019
In a follow-up to his widely discussed Washington Post essay “The Strongmen Strike Back,” Robert Kagan recommends the JoD’s January 2019 cluster “The Road to Digital Unfreedom” as a resource on “how new technologies have become tools of dictatorship.”
March 20, 2019
On 19 March 2019, January-issue contributors Ronald J. Deibert and Xiao Qiang discussed new dangers presented by social media and related digital tools with Shanthi Kalathil and Christopher Walker of NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies.
March 19, 2019
On new podcasts produced by NED’s International Forum for Democratic Studies, Larry Diamond discusses “China and the Global Challenge to Democracy,” and Marc F. Plattner explores “Democracy and the Illiberal Temptation.” And don’t miss conversations with recent JoD author Ronald J. Deibert on how social media may be fueling authoritarianism and with April-issue contributor Glenn Tiffert on digital censorship in China…
February 5, 2019
An editorial on China’s digital repression highlights the work of JoD contributor Xiao Qiang, who in our January issue warns that the integration of new digital technologies and mass information collection may soon enable Chinese authorities to preemptively crush opposition.
January 16, 2019
Drawing on his October-issue contribution “Latin America’s Shifting Politics: The Lessons of Bolivia,” Jean-Paul Faguet explains why the collapse of Bolivia’s party system may offer “an analytical window into the future” for Western countries.
January 15, 2019
At the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, JoD authors Joshua Tucker, Yannis Theocharis, Margaret E. Roberts, and Pablo Barberá draw on their findings from our October issue to assess "how social media can both weaken—and strengthen—democracy."
December 7, 2017
In a special exchange appearing only on our website, distinguished scholars Amy C. Alexander and Christian Welzel; Pippa Norris; and Erik Voeten offer critiques of the July 2016 and January 2017 articles by Roberto Stefan Foa and Yascha Mounk. A reply from Foa and Mounk follows.
August 8, 2017
Drawing on her thought-provoking article "The Pipe Dream of Undemocratic Liberalism" from our July issue, Berman discusses the history of illiberal democracy, the relationship between technocracy and populism, and why liberalism and democracy still need one another.
July 20, 2017
The Washington Post’s Dan Balz surveys Persily’s analysis, published in the April 2017 Journal of Democracy, of how groundbreaking shifts in the sphere of online media and communications are affecting the political environment.
April 25, 2017
Jeff Guo in the Washington Post’s Wonkblog and Erik Voeten in the Post’s Monkey Cage grapple with Yascha Mounk and Roberto Stefan Foa's findings on support for democracy among young people. Also in the Monkey Cage, Foa and Mounk respond, and Voeten continues the discussion.
December 13, 2016
"Seymour Martin Lipset passed away eleven years ago. . . . Today, his prolific scholarship remains as timely and influential as when he was an actively engaged author," writes Mildred A. Schwartz in a post for the blog of Oxford University Press on the enduring relevance of Seymour Martin Lipset. Read the whole tribute here.
April 4, 2017
In "Vladimir Putin Is Bringing Back the 1930s," Washington Post columnist George Will discusses the Authoritarianism Goes Global: The Challenge to Democracy.
October 18, 2016
In "The Year of Democratic Decay," Daniel Drezner cites "The Danger of Deconsolidation: The Democratic Disconnect" by Roberto Stefan Foa & Yascha Mounk in the July JoD.
July 20, 2016
"The Authoritarian Resurgence: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela" panel discussion featuring JoD authors Javier Corrales, Andrew J. Nathan, Lilia Shevtsova, and Frederic Wehrey. (4/23, 12-2 pm, at NED)
April 14, 2015
February 18, 2015
In the new JoD podcast, Adrienne LeBas discusses her recent essay "A New Twilight in Zimbabwe? The Perils of Power Sharing."
June 20, 2014
At noon on 4/25 at the NED, Tarek Masoud, Larry Diamond, & more will discuss the new JoD book Democratization & Authoritarianism in the Arab World.
April 21, 2014
The Journal talks with Matthias Matthijs about his essay "Mediterranean Blues: The Crisis in Southern Europe."
January 30, 2014
The Washington Post op-ed "Authoritarian Regimes Re-Tool Their Media Control Strategy" by Robert Orttung and Christopher Walker is based on the authors' essay in the upcoming issue of the JoD.
January 13, 2014
November 20, 2013
A critique of Francis Fukuyama's October 2013 Journal of Democracy essay "Democracy and the Quality of the State."
October 19, 2013
New "Democracy Ideas" interview with Steven Heydemann about his JoD article "Tracking the "Arab Spring": Syria and the Future of Authoritarianism."
October 16, 2013
The Aug. 22 Washington Post editorial "China’s Half-Measure on the Rule of Law" cites Carl Minzner's JoD essay "China Tipping at Point: The Turn Against Legal Reform."
August 28, 2013