Las Enseñanzas de la Transición Democrática en España

Author: José Casanova

June 1, 1994

In the Spanish-language article "Las Enseñanzas de la Transición Democrática en España," José Casanova examines the democratic transition in Spain during the 1970s and 1980s, looking for lessons applicable to similar transitions in Latin America or other countries, like those in Eastern Europe. Casanova argues that the Spanish transition was unique, both in terms of the political actors and the historical narrative of Spain, and consequently warns about excessive attempts to replicate transitions. However, Casanova also points out four different themes that played a role in the transition: first, the environment in Spain was ripe for a transition; second, the political actors, both individual and collective, were willing to participate (for instance, Opus Dei and many government technocrats); third, proper institutional and procedural forms existed; finally, there was a clear ultimate goal (telos) that the transition set out to accomplish. Casanova warns against trying to determine which of the factors was the most important, as he states that all of them had to be present in one form or another for the transition to succeed in an ordered manner. This essay was published in the journal Ayer.

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