Building Democracy After Conflict: Introduction

Issue Date January 2005
Volume 16
Issue 1
Page Numbers 5-8
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Three leading areas of democratic studies today are 1) the quality of democracy, 2) the “gray zone,” (regimes that combine features of authoritarianism and democracy in previously unfamiliar ways), and 3) post-conflict democracy-building. The latter deals with failed or war-torn states that would seem to be the least promising candidates for democratization. Why, then, has state-building or political reconstruction in these cases come to be identified with democracy-building? The most important reason is the unrivaled legitimacy that democracy today enjoys as a form of governance. Those international organizations and countries that have taken the lead in responding to postconflict situations cannot easily evade their public commitment to democracy.

About the Author

Marc F. Plattner is a member of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) Board of Directors. He was on the NED staff from 1984 until 2020, serving first as the director of the grants program. In 1989, he became founding coeditor (with Larry Diamond) of the Journal of Democracy. He later served as codirector of the International Forum for Democratic Studies and as NED’s vice-president for research and studies.

View all work by Marc F. Plattner