Democracy both Young and Old: Finland, Sweden and the Interwar Crisis of Democracy

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It is often pointed out in the literature of democratisation and the breakdown of democracy that old democracies have been able to stand against the threat of totalitarian and extremist political doctrines better than young ones. This observation has usually been based on the existence of solid political institutions, certain class structures, and the legitimacy of a political system. The focus of this article is on the rhetorical role that the division between ‘old’ and ‘young’ or ‘new’ democracies played during the interwar crisis of democracy. By focusing on the cases of Finland and Sweden, which have been described as a young democracy and an old democracy respectively in the literature on democratisation, the study directs attention to the ways in which the age of democracy has been produced in order to defend democratic institutions against totalitarian doctrines and practices. The article thus contributes to the conceptual history of democracy and helps explaining why Finland managed to maintain its democratic political institutions as one of the few new independent states that were born during and just after the First World War.
Bidragets titel på inmatningsspråkSekä nuori että vanha democratia: Suomi ja Ruotsi ja sotien välinen demokratian kriisi
TidskriftJournal of Modern European History
Sidor (från-till)486-499
Antal sidor14
StatusPublicerad - 2019
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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