Comparative democracy indices such as Freedom House Nations in Transit underpin many scholars’ perceptions of democratic progress and backsliding. However, these fail to account empirically for practices of deliberation, a central concern in contemporary democratic theory. They also fail to address the ideational nature of emergent global challenges to democracy. This article addresses these domains of empirical neglect by presenting an “Everyday Democracy” approach to democracy evaluation, an ethnographic methodology rooted in an engagement with democratic theory. Data collected in Serbia and Bulgaria is contrasted, revealing a more vibrant and contested public sphere in Serbia, which is usually graded as less democratic. This finding highlights the need for a reassessment of some assumptions that underpin ongoing debates about democratisation, “backsliding” and the evaluation of democracy generally.
Bibliographical noteThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in
East European Politics on 08/06/18, available
- Democracy measurement
- democratic consolidation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Political Science and International Relations