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Spanish Politics: Democracy after Dictatorship

ISBN: 978-0-7456-3993-2
224 pages
July 2008, Polity
Spanish Politics: Democracy after Dictatorship (0745639933) cover image
Since the demise of the Franco dictatorship in 1977 Spain has emerged as one of the worlds most successful new democracies. But what accounts for the remarkable process of democratization in Spain, a country infamous for its long history of civil wars, military coups and ethnic conflicts?

In this book, Omar Encarnación shows how a post-transition settlement, anchored on inter-party consensus and collaboration, made possible Spain's smooth transition from authoritarian to democratic rule, a string of stable governments from the Center, Left and Right, a modern and competitive economy, and a new national multi-cultural identity.

Each chapter in the book is devoted to a different aspect of the post-transition settlement, from its origins in the political traumas of Spanish history, to its implications for the evolution of the party system, the state, civil society and the economy, and finally, the consequences of its deterioration under the socialist administration of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.

Controversial policies such as same-sex marriages, negotiations with the Basque terrorist organization ETA, expanded powers to regional governments, and accountability for human rights abuses committed during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime, explain the widespread claim that Zapatero has shattered the political status quo of the post-Franco era.

This book will be essential reading for students and scholars of contemporary Spanish politics and comparative democratization.

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Acknowledgments.

List of Tables.

List of Figures.

List of Abbreviations.

Introduction.

Chapter 1. A Post-Transition Settlement.

Chapter 2. Politics and the Lessons of History.

Chapter 3. The Primacy of Democratic Crafting.

Chapter 4. From Contention to Moderation: Party Politics.

Chapter 5. The Dark Side of Consensus? A Civic Deficit.

Chapter 6. A Nation of Nations: De-centralizing the State.

Chapter 7. Growing Pains: The Post-Franco Economy.

Chapter 8. Pinochet’s Revenge: Confronting the Past.

Chapter 9. A Second Transition: Zapatero’s Spain.

References.

Index

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Omar Encarnacion is Associate Professor of Political Studies and Director of the Political Studies program at Bard College.
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  • The most comprehensive introductory textbook on contemporary Spanish politics currently available
  • Shows how Spain made a smooth transition from authoritarian to democratic rule
  • Each chapter in the book is devoted to a different aspect of this process, from its origins in the political traumas of Spanish history, to its implications for the evolution of the party system, the state, civil society and the economy
  • Analyses the consequences of the socialist administration of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and his controversial policies such as same-sex marriages and negotiations with the Basque terrorist organization ETA
  • Clear and accessible, this is essential reading for students and scholars of contemporary Spanish politics and comparative democratization
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"A convincing, original and readable analysis of the contemporary political scene in Spain. While I am confident that the book will prove useful to those studying Spanish politics, I would also recommend it to readers with little previous knowledge of the country, who wish to draw on the lessons provided by Spain in its remarkable transformation into a mature democracy."
Paul Kennedy, International Affairs

"Nuanced and convincing in its explanation of why Spain became a successful democracy."
European History Quarterly

"Its consistently cogent analysis establishes Spanish Politics as an invaluable and welcome addition to the literature on modern Spain."
Political Science Quarterly

"Encarnación has written a lucid, concise and elegant book about Spanish politics. Theoretically informed and rigorously comparative, this remarkable study will be of interest to both Hispanists and democratization scholars."
Diego Muro, King's College London

"Encarnacion convincingly argues that the young Spanish democracy has reached a level of institutional stability that allows for policy issues to be hotly debated, adopted, and implemented, without any fear of a coup d'etat staged by former supporters of the Franco regime. The progressive reforms adopted by the left-leaning Zapatero government since 2004 are offered as evidence of the new democratic stability in Spain; arguably the new democratic stability will also allow space for conservative forces to try and undo those reforms in future elections and parliaments. In the end, Encarnacion leaves the reader with the optimistic impression that Spanish democracy will remain robust, stable, transparent, and durable in the years ahead."
Paul Christopher Manuel, New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College

"Omar Encarnacion's vivid and comprehensive analysis of Spain's post-Franco democracy provides a highly engaging examination of the country's politics which serves as a fine introduction to Western Europe's fifth largest country while also providing seasoned observers of Spanish politics and society with much food for thought. Encarnacion skillfully weaves together an analysis of the country's present with an examination of its conflictual past and of historical memory, using this lens to highlight Spain's successes, paradoxes and disappointments."
Robert M. Fishman, University of Notre Dame

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