Are there cultural conditions that justify non-democratic forms of government, including dictatorship? Are some cultures prone to dictatorship? Are there some cultures where democracy just would not work?


  1. If you argue that there are conditions that justify non-democracy, you need to be very specific about those conditions, and about what they would entail: are there conditions under which competitive elections are not advisable? What about freedom of speech? What about other forms of political equality?
  2. You also need to be very careful to distinguish between genuinely cultural obstacles to democracy and "economic" obstacles, for example. (E.g., poor countries are more likely to be non-democratic for whatever reason, but "poverty" is not necessarily a cultural condition). What counts as a cultural obstacle to democracy?
  3. Consider also the distinction between cultural obstacles that make democracy impossible versus cultural obstacles that make it work less well.
  4. You also need to provide a justification for why non-democracy is justified in such cases: is it because non-democracy would be more consistent with economic growth? Or because it would be more consistent with certain beliefs?
  5. You may wish to analyze some particular debate, like the "Asian Values" debate. Are there such things as "Asian Values", and do they imply that the best regime for some Asian countries is non-democratic?


  1. I have tagged some useful articles on culture and dictatorship in our course bibliography, but the list there is not extensive. You may wish to add new sources you discover to the bibliography.