Theories of Crisis and Catastrophe, Change and Transformation
This chapter sets out and compares two groups of theories. One the one hand, there are the pessimistic theories of ‘crisis and catastrophe’ that predict, in one way or another, the imposition of strains and stresses on Western liberal democracies that may even lead to their collapse. On the other hand, there are the more optimistic theories – such as the ‘end of ideology’ in the early 1960s, the ‘end of history’ in the early 1990s, and the theory of post‐materialism – which predict a stabilizing transformation. This sets the scene for the following three chapters, which examine these theories in greater detail.
Keywords: democratic stability
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