How Civil Society Matters in Democratization: Setting the Boundaries of Post-Transition Political Inclusion Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2017

start page

  • 391


  • 3


  • 49

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0010-4159

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2151-6227


  • This article offers a new perspective on how civil society matters in democratization, arguing that its impact is felt long after the end of regime transition. Whereas some analyses focus exclusively on the organizational impact of institutionalized actors, this article also examines the significance of social movement protest and argues that the cultural legacies of civil society's transition-era role help to determine whether organizationally weak and resource-poor actors will be able to gain a hearing in new democracies. Although the objectives of this article are fundamentally theoretical, it builds empirically on the strategically chosen paired comparison of Portugal and Spain, two countries that moved from authoritarianism to democracy through polar opposite pathways.


  • spain; democracy; portugal; revolution; authoritarianism; rethinking; transition