Rethinking the Value of Democracy

Warwick University
Start date

Tuesday, 23 Apr 2019, 16:15

End date

Tuesday, 23 Apr 2019, 17:30

International Institute of Social Studies
Renske Doorenspleet

On 23 April 2019, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics from Warwick University, Renske Doorenspleet, will give a seminar on the topic of 'Rethinking the Value of Democracy'. This seminar is part of the Development Research Seminar (DRS) series held at the International Institute of Social Studies.

During the seminar at ISS, Renske explores both the expected beneficial and harmful impact of democracy, in a cross-national comparative framework. Her lecture will draw on her new book 'Rethinking the Value of Democracy' (Palgrave, 2018). Democracy’s reputation as delivering peace and development while controlling corruption is an important source of its own legitimacy.

Yet, as this book acutely demonstrates, the arguments tend to be normatively driven interventions in ideologically charged policy debates. The book argues that we need neither a utopian framing of democracy as delivering all ‘good things’ in politics nor a cynical one that emphasises only the ‘dangerous underbelly’ of this form of government

  • Renske Doorenspleet is Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, and the academic leader of 'The Politics of Hope' (annual theme 2018/19 of GRP's International Development), at Warwick University. She received her MA and Ph.D. in political science from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Thereafter, she worked as postdoctoral fellow at the International Security Programme at Harvard University (USA), to investigate on possibilities for democracy in divided countries.

    In 2006, Renske joined the Department of Politics and International Studies at Warwick University, UK, where she has taught BA and MA modules around comparative politics, methodology and statistics, development, freedom and democracy. So far, Renske Doorenspleet has supervised eight PhD projects to completion, focusing on democracy and authoritarianism in countries such as Algeria, Bosnia, Burkina Faso, China, Colombia, Egypt, Hong Kong, Iraq, Singapore, Tunisia, Uganda, and Venezuela. 

    Renske has published a number of chapters in academic books and articles in international journals such as in World Politics, Democratization, Acta Politica, the International Political Science Review, Ethnopolitics, Government and Opposition and the European Journal of Political Research. Her first book Democratic Transitions: Exploring the Structural Sources of the Fourth Wave (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2005) focused on theoretical and empirical explanations of recent transitions to democracy around the world. Together with Lia Nijzink (Cape Town University), she is editor of One-Party Dominance in African Democracies (Lynne Rienner, 2013) and Political Parties, Party Systems and Democracy in Africa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014).