Even consolidated democracies may have embedded within them certain structures and practices, which not only run counter to the democratic ethos but are the result of deliberate design to do so. Ideally, democratic practices rest on consensus. Political elites remain accountable through competitive elections and institutions for mass representation, such as political parties. Yet, historically contextualized research shows that democracy, once established, may not be in fact the only game in town. Or, more narrowly, that the game itself is rigged. Erik Mobrand’s Top-Down Democracy in South Korea offers a concise, compelling, and original examination of this phenomenon in South Korea, one of the more successful cases of Third Wave democratization.
Read the full book review in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations.