Political parties that represent old regime interests in moments of democratization are normally thought exclusively to play a "negative" role, blocking democracy and only conceding it when sufficiently challenged. Summarizing research for a book on the historical rise of democracy in Europe, this presentation will focus on British and German democratization in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to make the case that under certain conditions, old regime conservative parties play a decisive and counter-intuitive role that makes democratization more settled over the long run.
Daniel Ziblatt is Professor of Government at Harvard University. He has been named a Sage Publications Fellow for a project on "Conservative Political Parties and Democratization in Europe" and in 2012-2013 is on leave at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.
His research and teaching interests include democratization, state-building, development, comparative politics and comparative historical analysis, with a particular interest in Europe. He is the author of Structuring the State: The Formation of Italy and Germany and the Puzzle of Federalism (Princeton University Press, 2006), the winner of three prizes from the American Political Science Association, including the 2007 Prize for the Best Book published on European Politics. He is co-editor of a 2010 special double issue of Comparative Political Studies entitled "The Historical Turn in Democratization Studies." Recent papers have appeared in American Poiltical Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, and World Politics. His most recent papers have received APSA's 2011 Mary Parker Follett Prize from the Politics and History Section of APSA, APSA's 2009 Luebbert Prize for the best paper published in comparative politics, the 2008 Sage prize for best paper presented in comparative politics at the APSA meeting, and two prizes in 2010 from the Comparative Democratization Section of APSA. Ziblatt has been a DAAD Fellow in Berlin, an Alexander von Humboldt visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Cologne and the University of Konstanz, Germany, and visiting professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris in 2010. He is currently completing a new book entitled Conservative Political Parties and the Birth of Modern Democracy in Europe, 1848-1950 (Cambridge University Press) that offers a new interpretation of the historical democratization of Europe.