The Southern European Transitions to Democracy: A Historiographical Introduction

Pamela Radcliff, Kostis Kornetis, Pedro Aires Oliveira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This text serves as an introduction to the dossier 50 years of Scholarship on the Southern European Democratic Transitions: A Comparative Approach which aims to compare and contrast these processes in Greece, Portugal and Spain, as they unfolded during the 1970s and beyond. Our starting point is that the three Transitions were conceptually linked from the beginning as the vanguard of Huntington’s famous “third wave” of democratic transitions, but there has been little substantive comparative historical research, especially considering all three cases together. To foster a more substantive comparative approach, the editors pursued a strategy of co-authorship around common themes, hoping this would facilitate deeper conversations across national divides and languages. This introduction starts with a brief assessment of several generations of historiography, considering the genealogy of the Southern European “model” of transition, followed by an appraisal of several contributions that have either endorsed or challenged this early model. It then offers a description of the main arguments put forward by the contributors of the dossier, followed by a survey of other relevant debates and promising new directions. It concludes by encouraging further comparative research on the three cases, either as a single unit or in conjunction with other cases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-40
Number of pages30
JournalMelanges De La Casa De Velazquez
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Authoritarianism
  • Democratization
  • Southern Europe
  • Transitions
  • Third wave”
  • Historiography


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