State of Democracy in South Asia
by Centre for the study of Developing SocietiesProject supported by Ford Foundation, International IDEA, and EU-India Cross Cultural Program of the EU
International IDEAProfessor Jayadeva Uyangoda, Sri Lanka.Professor Mohammed Waseem, Pakistan.Dr. Krishna Hachhetu, Nepal.Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, Bangladesh.
Objectives of the studyTo investigate what democracy has done to South Asia and what South Asia has done to democracy.
Discontent with existing discourses as being inattentive, hegemonic and ethnocentric.
Limitations of current thinking on governanceDeficit based thinking: of information, administration, resources and political will.System centric thinking: inputs, processes, outputs.Politics is missing: of agents, interests, elites, ideologies, and institutions.No sense of the dialectics between institutions and processes.
Our Research GridPromise-what moral burden does democracy carry in South Asia-what futures does it advanceDesign-Institutional structure: political, social, economic-Parties/ Civil Society OrganizationsWorking-Sociology, Economy and Anthropology of institutions-practices of political leaders, parties, organizations etcOutcomes -democratization of state and society, elite rule.Futures -likely trajectories.
Four Research Pathways of Democracy Assessment
Cross-sectional survey Qualitative AssessmentDialogues Case Studies
Component 1: Survey Some QuestionsHow do ordinary South Asians view democracyHow do perceptions vary according to country, class, gender and social divisionsWhat/ Who do they identify as the main threats to their securityWhat is their level of trust in the capacity of institutions to meet their needsHow does the perception of the elite relate to that of the cross section of the population
Component 1: Different aspects of inquiryQuestions that have been asked Globally, across South Asia, and specific to each country.
Qs on: Battery on: legitimacy, efficacy, trust, participation
Qs on: Identity, dignity, notion of self-hood.
Qs on: Security and freedom from fear.
Qs on: Material outcomes and freedom from want
Qs on: Satisfaction with democracy.
Methodology: Total elector, no of parliamentary constituencies, and proposed sample units.
CountryVoters( million)Total no of PCsNo of sampled constit(15%)No of sampled boothsTargeted interviews (per booth)Bdesh56.73004545*6=2704320 (16)India617.013912298298*2/3=6229330 (15)Nepal13.522053931*6=1864000 (22)Pakistan55.742073131*6=1864092 (22)SLanka12.071963030*6=1804500 (25)Total755.1326,242
Component 1: Methodology: Preparation for SurveyDraw upon questionnaires of CSDS and various barometersDialogues with activistsCountry coordinators to discuss draft questionnaireCommon questions and country specific questionsTranslation into local languagesPilot surveyCanvassing by field teams in each countryData processed and computerizedAnalysis plan collectively prepared
Component 2: Qualitative AssessmentAgreement over main thrust of IDEA frameworkAssessment of old as well as new democraciesPeople of the country to undertake assessmentAssessment to be broad-based and objectiveAssessment to be the anchor for democracy discourseTwo-fold anchorage: theoretical and historical-sociological
Component 2: Expert led Assessment - Some questionsWhat are the main components of the promise.?
What is the nature of the of the economic institutions and how does it relate to the political structure?
Is there a gap between the design and actual working?
Is the working characterized by limitation or closure in terms of participatory spaces, agendas and/or participants?
Has democracy been an instrument of social transformation?
What is the relationship between the procedural and substantive aspects of democracy?
Component 2: MethodologyCountry coordinator constitute a team of experts to prepare the background papers for the respective nodes.
These papers and the relevant findings from the case studies and survey would be presented to the activists and experts from that country.
On the basis of their comments the coordinator would prepare the final report of QA for the country.
Component 3: DialoguesSeries of dialogues to be conducted at regional, national and local levelsDialogues to involve activists, journalists, academics, politicians, etc.Ownership of study broad basedConversation between different knowledge universes
Component 3: Types of dialoguesGeneral: State of Democracy in South Asia
Thematic: (i) Democracy: Majorities and Minorities, (ii) Democracy and Human Security
Both types to be held in all 5 South Asian countries in different locations to ensure diversity of perspectives
Component 3: MethodologyDuration over two days for building trust among participants
Invitees from a cross section of interests, ideologies, social strata, and groups.
Special effort to have minority viewpoints attend.
Selection of Chair important.
Dialogue loosely structured.
Entire dialogue recorded, digitized and finally uploaded on website.
Separate report of dialogue prepared where the views of speakers are presented sequentially.
Component 4: Case StudiesBased on the recognition that the survey, qualitative assessment and dialogues would still miss important aspects of democracy in practice.
Deliberate selection of aspects of practice that can be constructed as puzzles of democracy.
Goal to problematize the discourse on democracy by presenting inconvenient facts.
These inconvenient facts although located in South Asia have more general implications.
Evaluation of the case not straightforward e.g., families in politics, extension of womens rights under dictatorship, life of file.
Component 4: MethodologySelection of cases after listening to dialogues
Use different methodologies to illustrate the issue e.g ethnographic approach to study working of a law court
Case study not illustration of a feature of democratic practice but elaboration of an inconvenient fact.
Commission of studies to be completed over 8 months.
OutputDissemination of first ever South Asia wide survey on citizens attitudes through mediaPublication of a Citizens report on Democracy in South Asia Report available in more than one South Asian LanguageData archive open for public access
OutcomesPromote public discourse with political parties, peoples movements, and civil society organizationsSouth Asian Survey to join the ranks of other BarometersContribute to the development of a Human Security IndexTransform the global discourse on democracy and governance.
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