Re-Visioning Democracy Promotion
By Milja Kurki
Routledge – 2013 – 296 pages
Democracy promotion has been an influential policy agenda in many Western states and international organisations, and amongst many NGO actors. But what kinds of models of democracy do democracy promoters promote? This book examines in detail the conceptual orders that underpin democracy support activity, and the conceptions of democracy that democracy promoters, consciously or inadvertently, work with. Such an examination is not only timely but much-needed in today’s context of multiple democratic and financial crises. Contestation over democracy’s meaning is returning, but how is this contestation reflected, if at all, in democracy promotion policies and practices?
Seeking to open up debate on multiple models of democracy, this text provides the reader not only with the outlines of various possible politico-economic models of democracy, but also with a close empirical engagement with democracy promoters’ discourses and practices. Drawing on a broad spectrum of examples, it exposes the challenges faced by Western governments in trying to reshape the political and economic landscape across the world and tentatively advances a set of concrete policy provocations which may enable a more pluralist and flexible democracy promotion practice to emerge.
This innovative new work will be essential reading for all students of democratisation, democracy promotion and international relations.
'This book provides a useful contribution to debates about democracy promotion by looking at what Kurki deems the 'hidden' assumptions about political change that inform discussions of the topic.' - G. John Ikenberry
1. Introduction: Democracy and contestation: analysing the conceptual foundations of democracy promotion in the context of multiple crises PART I Democracy as a contested concept: surveying politico-economic visions of democracy 2. The contested liberal democratic model: and its multiple variants 3. Challenges to liberal democracy: socialist critics and social democracy 4. Reviving the direct democratic tradition: participatory democracy and radical democracy 5. The poverty of state-based democracy: cosmopolitan models of democracy 6. Orientations towards the empirical study of conceptual orders in democracy promotion PART II Politico-economic models of democracy in democracy promotion practice 7. Liberal Democracy and its multiple meanings in US democracy promotion (co-authored with Jeff Bridoux) 8. EU: a fuzzy liberal democracy promoter 9. Democracy promotion by non-state actors: alternative models in action?.Chapter 10. International Financial Institutions and democracy promotion Part III Conclusions and policy provocations Chapter 11. Democracy promotion, implicit liberalism and the liberal world order 12. Policy provocations – from a critical perspective Conclusion
Milja Kurki is a lecturer at Aberystwyth University and the Principal Investigator of a European Research Council-funded project, Political Economies of Democratisation (2008-2012).