State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace
- Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Studies on Comparative Politics (2007)
INtro: This was actually the second book that I finished but the first one that was published (longish story). The work emerged from a sustained interest in what reduces state repression and what role (if any) political institutions played in the process.
Overview: Does democracy decrease state repression in line with the expectations of governments, international organizations, NGOs, social movements, academics and ordinary citizens around the world? Most believe that a "domestic democratic peace" exists, rivalling that found in the realm of interstate conflict. Investigating 137 countries from 1976 to 1996, this book seeks to shed light on this question. Specifically, three results emerge. First, while different aspects of democracy decrease repressive behaviour, not all do so to the same degree. Human rights violations are especially responsive to electoral participation and competition. Second, while different types of repression are reduced, not all are limited at comparable levels. Personal integrity violations are decreased more than civil liberties restrictions. Third, the domestic democratic peace is not bulletproof; the negative influence of democracy on repression can be overwhelmed by political conflict. This research alters our conception of repression, its analysis and its resolution. Here is an unpublished article that basically summarizes the argument (nuances and details missed but useful nevertheless).
1. Repression and the search for peace
2. Disaggregation and contextualization
3. Data and methodology
4. Democratic pacification: the direct effects of voice and veto
5. Peace under fire: the interactive effect of democracy and conflict
6. (Re)considering domestic peace
I initially commissioned a painting from my dear friend John Sparagana but the publisher did not like it, arguing that it was too unclear as to what the image was trying to convey. What was interesting though was that if I did not come up with an image, they were going to use circles, squares and triangles. If that was an option, then why not use the commissioned art work? I yielded. After much searching, I later found the image that we ended up going with on Creative Commons.
Review in Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict (2009) - "a well-crafted and theoretically
insightful book that should appeal to qualitative and quantitative scholars alike"
Review in Journal of Conflict Studies (2009) - “Davenport’s book represents a leap forward in
our understanding of how democracy relates to state repression”
Review in Political Science Quarterly (2008) - “Consistently bold,” “Of Immense value to the
field of contentious politics”
Review in the American Journal of Sociology (2008) - “A benchmark book on the relationship
of democracy to state violence”
Review in Political Studies Review (2008) - “A ground-breaking contribution”
Review in Journal of Politics (2008) - “Valuable and nuanced”
Review in Mobilization (2008) - “A strong book”
"State Repression and the Democratic Peace is that rare book that compels the reader to adopt a significantly transformed way to think about democracy's warts as well as its many virtues. Christian Davenport has done a masterful job of exploring and explaining the conditions under which democratic governments resort to repressive and
coercive policies. (The) book is a tour de force, a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the underside of democracy"
— Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, New York University
"This is a carefully nuanced comparative examination of how democratic institutions do and don't effectively constrain state repression under conditions of domestic and international threat. It is relevant to both new and long-established democracies"
— Bruce Russett, Yale University
"Drawing on, synthesizing and extending insights from comparative politics and international relations, political institutions, and conflict studies, Davenport provides one of the most important studies of state repression yet written. A must-read for those interested in political repression, state-sponsored violence, and the future of liberalism"
— Allan Stam, University of Michigan
"Davenport's State Repression and the Domestic Democratic Peace is a masterful, systematic, and sobering analysis of how contemporary states - often unsuccessfully - must tread a thin line between protecting and repressing political freedoms"
— Michael Ward, University of Washington