From Congruence to Consonance: A Majoritarian Restatement of Eckstein’s Stability Theory

Romanian Review of Political Sciences and International Relations 19 (2):93-112 (2022)
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Abstract

Harry Eckstein’s long-standing (but ever-changing) hypothesis that a nation’s political stability is a function of “congruence” between the “authority patterns” exhibited by the government and those displayed by nearly every sort of institution under that government’s aegis involved a highly complex politico-psychological theory. As a result, it was quite difficult either to confirm or disconfirm. While there have been a number of suggested revisions that apparently simplify his thesis, they suffer either from vagueness or a failure to take democracy to be a system that requires an actual commitment to majoritarianism. In this paper a revision is offered that utilizes a small number of completely dichotomous variables that are easily subject to empirical tests. This revised theory (of “consonance” rather than congruence) is also explicitly majoritarian, enabling it to shed light on the essential nature of democratic regimes.

Author's Profile

Walter Horn
Brown University (PhD)

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