• Gerti Sqapi European University of Tirana, Albania
Keywords: democratization, transitional paradigm, conceptual stretch, consolidation, regime, structural conditions


Over the last quarter of the century, the transitional paradigm (or the approach of the transition) has been a dominant paradigm that has greatly influenced different studies on democratization. The purpose of this paper, in a general perspective, is to conduct an analysis of the transitional paradigm, assumptions, key concepts, and hypotheses developed thereof, in order to evaluate the validity or at least be able to understand and explain the processes of democratization wave that affected third world countries.  Development of literature and studies within the conceptual framework of this paradigm was mainly conducted during the period of what is known as “the third wave of democratization.” Explanation and direction of change from autocratic to democratic regimes, evident in those countries affected by the third wave, were the main claim of the transition approach.  This paper attempts to investigate the validity of the conceptual framework of this approach with respect to the interpretation (and change of directions) of the democratization processes in these countries.


Bunce, V. (1991). Should Transitologists be Grounded? Slavic Review, 54(1), 111-127.

Carothers, T. (2007). How Democracies Emerge: The “Sequencing” Fallacies. Journal of Democracy, 18(1), 12-27.

Carothers, T. (2002). The End of the Transitional paradigm. Journal of Democracy, 13(1), 5-21.

Diamond, L., Plattner, M. F., Chu, Y., & Tien H. (Eds.). (1997). Consolidating the Third Wave Democracies: Themes and Perspectives. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Encarnacion, O. G. (2002). Beyond Transitions: The Politics of Democratic Consolidation (Review). Comperative Politics, 32(4), 479-498.

Kajsiu, B. (2007). Demokratizim pa Politikë: Baza Konceptuale e Qasjes Ndërkombëtare në Shqipëri

[Democratization without Politics: Conceptual Basis of Access International in Albania]. Tiranë: Revista Polis, 4, 23-38.

Karl, T. L. (2005). From Democracy to Democratization and Back: Before Transitions from Authoritarian Rule. Center on Democracy, Development, and The Rule of Law (CDDRL) Working Papers, 45.

Levitsky, S., & Way, L. A. (2002). The Rise of Competitive Authoritarianism. Journal of Democracy, 13(2), 51-65.

Linz, J. J., & Stepan, A. (1996). Problem of Democratic Transition and Consolidation. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Hobson, C. (2003). Rethinking Democracy: The End of Democratic Transition? Melboune Journal of Politics, 29, 56-67.

Huntigton, S. (1991). Vala e Tretë – Demokratizimi në fund të shekullit të njëzetë [Third Wave - Democratization in the late twentieth century]. Tiranë: Instituti i Studimeve Ndërkombëtare.

Mcfaul, M. (2002). The Fourth Wave of Democracy and Dictatorship – Non-cooperative Transitions in the Post-communist World. World Politics, 54(2), 212-254.

O’Donnell, G., & Schmitter, P. (1986). Transitions from Authoritarian Rule: Tentative Conclusions about Uncertain Democracies. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

O’Donnell, G. (1994). Delegative Democracy. Journal of Democracy, 5(1), 55-69.

O’Donnell, G. (2002). In Partial Defense of an Evanescent Paradigm. Journal of Democracy, 13(3), 6-12.

Rose, R., & Shin, D. C. (2001). Democratization Backwards: The Problem of Third Wave Democracies. British Journal of Political Science, 31(2), 331-354.

Rustow, D. (1970). Transitions to Democracy: Toward a Dynamic Model. Comparative Politics, 2(3), 337-363.

Schedler, A. (2002). The Menu of Manipulation. Journal of Democracy, 13(2), 36-50.

Schmitter, P. C., & Karl, T. L. (Spring, 1994). The Conceptual Travels of Transitologists and Consolidologists: How Far to the East Should They Attempt to Go? Slavic Review, 53(1), 173-185.

Wierda, H. J. (2001). Southern Europe, Eastern Europe and Comparative Politics: “Transitology” and the Need for New Theory. East European Politics and Societies,15(4), 485-501.