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Dr A. (Ammar) Maleki

Assistant Professor 

Tilburg Law School
Public Law & Governance


My research expertise and interest are in two different disciplines: cross-cultural differences and democratization. I am interested to examine the relation and interaction between societal culture and models of democracy. 
Democracy is institutionalized and practiced in a variety of models in different countries. Among the countries that pass the threshold of having an electoral democracy, diverse institutional settings or democratic models are recognized. But the question is why does this diversity exist and survive? Is the diversity of democratic models affected by cultural differences? And if so, what are the ways in which the compatibility between societal culture and institutional choices matters?

In recent decades, one of the important issues related to democracy has been democratization of previously undemocratic societies. Many countries have been passing the state of transition from an undemocratic to a democratic system. For those countries, the study of the compatible model of democracy is crucial. In general, the elements of societal culture can play significant roles in explaining the emergence of different models of democracy and the compatibility of each model to a specific context. 

The Cultural Compatibility Thesis developed in my PhD dissertation posits that societal culture matters in the process of opting, adopting and adapting political institutions of democracy. The thesis suggests that the mentality of adopting a best model of democracy should be replaced with the attitude of finding the most compatible modelThe findings of this theme of research reveal important lessons and implications for both political researchers and practitioners, who work on designing a compatible model of democracy in new and developing democracies as well as on reforming institutional settings in developed democracies.

Moreover, I am a pro-democracy activist and political analyst of Iranian politics (see my interview with the Tilburg University Magazine, UNIVERS)


Principal publications

  • Doorenspleet, R., & Maleki, A. (2018). Understanding Patterns of Democracy: Reconsidering Societal Divisions and Bringing Societal Culture Back In. In Consociationalism and Power-Sharing in Europe (pp. 11-34). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
  • Maleki, A., & Hendriks, F. (2016). Contestation and participation: Operationalizing and mapping democratic models for 80 electoral democracies, 1990?2009. Acta Politica51(2), 237-272.
  • Maleki, A., & Hendriks, F. (2015). Grid, Group, and Grade Challenges in Operationalizing Cultural Theory for Cross-National Research. Cross-Cultural Research49(3), 250-280.
  • Maleki, A., & Hendriks, F. (2015). The relation between cultural values and models of democracy: a cross-national study. Democratization22(6), 981-1010.
  • Maleki, A., & de Jong, M. (2014). A Proposal for Clustering the Dimensions of National Culture. Cross-Cultural Research48(2), 107-143.

Click here for a list of publications in PDF format PDF

Last amended: 10 September 2018