As globalization advances and crises proliferate, the practice of rating countries on democracy and freedom of the press has become increasingly significant in driving funding for “democratization” by the United Nations, the IMF, the United States Government, and NGOs. Yet the basic methodological and philosophical underpinnings of the process are murky. Ellen Mickiewicz will examine what ratings are based on and how reliable they are.
Among other aspects, is a bias toward capitalism regarded as an essential feature of democracy, andthe contentious political philosophical basis for the separation of political and economic rights asvector of democracy. Ellen Mickiewicz discusses problems with this cross-cultural perspective in theinterpretation of censorship, the recognition of tradeoffs, and the meaning of trust. Trust, treated as anecessary component of democracy, is central to research literature bearing on variation in attitudestoward democracy at the individual level. It is also extremely difficult to interpret, and scholar andpolicy makers alike should question the degree to which what the respondent means is the same aswhat the survey analyst interprets. Ellen Mickiewicz will give examples where precisely this kind of gapis nonetheless passed on by major media without any critical examination.Ellen Mickiewicz´s analysis is relevant on the one hand to research scholars seeking to identify thedeterminants of democratization or democracy and, on the other, to the policy and media world usingratings to guide decision making.