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Revista SAAP

On-line version ISSN 1853-1970


WHITEHEAD, Laurence. Un concepto de democratización reanimado: la metáfora biológica. Revista SAAP [online]. 2011, vol.5, n.2. ISSN 1853-1970.

Mechanical metaphors have colonized the social sciences, including the study of democratization processes. But they may provide a misleading framework for monitoring ongoing "self-equilibrating" social processes with no natural "end-state" such as democratization. I propose that modern biology can be consulted as an alternative source of analogical reasoning, offering a more flexible and appropriate stock of metaphors that can enliven analogical accounts of processes of democratization. The shift towards modeling democracy as a living practice permanently directed towards self-preservation and propagation provides a clearer rationale for comparative studies, focusing on the relative "quality" of democracy in different contexts. I begin with a brief sketch of the historical instability and current contestability of most democratization processes; I then examine the morphology of complex political concepts and propose alternative biological analogies to replace the currently prevalent physicalist imagery.

Keywords : Democratization; Democracy; Concepts; Analytical frames; Metaphors.

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