Political Science departmental doctoral seminar - "What is a Historical Legacy?"
The doctoral seminar runs Thursdays from 1.30 pm - 3.10 pm in FT 908, with the exception of the first Thursday of the month which is a departmental meeting.
While continuity and change have long been central in the study of politics, we do not yet fully understand the criteria by which claims of such continuity can be made. What is the dividing line between continuity with the past and change from the past? This paper addresses that question through a focus on historical legacies, and in particular what it means for characteristics of a prior political regime to feature (or not) in the politics of a latter political regime. Historical legacies are an important component of many explanations of contemporary outcomes in polities attempting to democratize after a period of authoritarian rule. Democratic failure and more rarely success are often attributed to some legacy originating in the prior authoritarian regime or in some cases the pre-authoritarian regime. Yet while there is no shortage of legacies accounts, there is still no clear understanding of what a legacy is or how legacy arguments actually work. This paper establishes the criteria by which a phenomenon can be considered a legacy.