Democratization of the State: A Global Perspective and South African Case Study

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This essay provides a global perspective on the democratic transformation of the state in societies undergoing democratization. Comparative research indicates that the development and effective performance of democratic political systems require the establishment of honest and competent public bureaucracies that avoid political partisanship and demonstrate respect for the diverse values and interests of the populations they serve. Especially important in democratizing the state is the development and practice of the norms of secondary democracy. The practice of these norms of mutual respect, fairness, and collaboration create the essential culture or modus vivendi of democracy. The Republic of South Africa is analyzed as an important case study of a contemporary state that is attempting to create a democratic and corruption-free public service in a country with an extremely racist, authoritarian, and corruption-ridden past. This case study reveals that the democratization of the state in South Africa, as in the case of other countries around the world, requires the members of the state bureaucracy to practice the norms of secondary democracy in their daily relations with one another and in their relations with the citizenry.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalPublic Administration and Development
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Economics
  • Public Administration

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