Rethinking Democratic Governance: State Building, Autonomy, and Accountability in Correa’s Ecuador
This paper argues that rather than theorize state building and democracy separately, we should direct our attention to studying the dual construction of democratic states. To do so, we must understand the contradictory relationship between the concentration of power needed to build state institutions and the constraints on this power dictated by the norms of liberal democracy. The author presents an outline for studying state building and democratic governance and illustrates his argument with a study of Ecuador. He argues that stable democracy must rest on three pillars: effective state institutions, the autonomy of these institutions from other powerful actors, and the existence of meaningful institutions of accountability. The challenge is that efforts to strengthen one or more of these pillars are likely to undermine the others. The author argues that Ecuador, particularly under the Correa administration, has experienced substantial achievements in the area of institution building, has a mixed record with regards to autonomy, and offers little in the way of accountability.
Authors: James David Bowen
Year of orginal publication: 2015
Publisher: German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
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