Democracy Asia 
State of Democracy in South Asia Study
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The case study has been chosen, as one of the four research pathways, to supplement the findings of the cross sectional survey, qualitative assessment, and dialogues. As a research pathway it offers an opportunity to probe more deeply the dimensions of a chosen case. As one of the investigative instruments available for developing a deeper understanding of an issue, the case study accepts one part of the Weberian dictum that social reality is both intensively and extensively infinite and hence it seeks to explore the web of interconnections that constitute the slice of reality being studied. To make sense of these interconnections the case study, therefore, needs to prioritize these interconnections, in terms of their importance and in terms of the intensity of their impact on the political process. Such prioritization allows us to appreciate the forces and drivers of change that are producing the new political realities. Democracy should therefore be seen as both a cause of and a consequence of these drivers of change.

Case studies have been deliberately chosen to present an ‘inconvenient fact’ to the prevailing discourse of democracy. While a case study is often used to illustrate an argument or to provide empirical detail for the attributes of a concept, the strategy in our choice of case study is different since we here seek not to illustrate but to complicate an argument, to confront the conventional wisdom on democracy with an analytical or a moral puzzle. The ‘inconvenient fact’ is what its name implies, inconvenient. Its presence requires the discourse to devise responses to it. The discourse has either to accommodate the ‘inconvenient fact’, and thereby modify the argument, or to reject it and thereby provide reasons for this rejection. It cannot ignore the ‘inconvenient fact’ since the case is too compelling. Our choice of 15 case studies address some key ideas in democratic theory. For example our case study on the family in politics looks at dynasties and, given their increasing prevalence and prominence in South Asian politics, compels us to ask whether we should look at the family in politics differently not as nepotism but as a form of social capital. These puzzles, that the ‘inconvenient facts’ represent, emerge from the working of democracy in our countries, from the historical struggle that the idea of democracy has to wage in the process of being domesticated in diverse social and political contexts.

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