1st Edition

Democracy Promotion A Critical Introduction

By Jeff Bridoux, Milja Kurki Copyright 2014
    148 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    148 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This critical introduction to democracy promotion seeks to provide students with an understanding of some of the key dynamics and contentions revolving around this controversial policy agenda.

    Specifically, this textbook examines democracy promotion through seeking to answer, from the perspective of an approach informed by ‘critical theory’, a set of important questions often posed to democracy promoters, such as:

    • Who is involved in democracy promotion today and what kinds of power relations are embedded in it?
    • Is democracy promotion driven by the values or interests of key actors?
    • Is democracy promotion regime-change by another name?
    • Is democracy promotion ‘context-sensitive’ or an imposition of Western powers?
    • Is democracy promotion about achieving liberal economic reform in target states?
    • Is democracy promotion a tool of the powerful, a form of hegemonic control of target populations?

    The book suggests a set of provocative answers to these questions and also puts forward a set of challenges for democracy promoters and supporters to take on today.

    Democracy Promotion serves as an effective introduction to an increasingly topical policy agenda for students and general readers and, at the same time, seeks to advance an important set of new critical perspectives for practitioners and policy-makers of democracy promotion to consider.

    Chapter 1. Introduction, Chapter 2. Who does democracy promotion and how? Chapter 3. Is democracy promotion about defence of values or about the safeguarding of interests? Chapter 4. Is Democracy Promotion Regime Change?
    Chapter 5. Is democracy promotion context sensitive? Chapter 6. Is democracy promotion really limited to achieving political reform or does it aim to advance liberal economic reform?Chapter 7. Is democracy promotion reflective of and constructive of ‘hegemonic’ power relations? Conclusion: Democracy Promotion: What’s Next?


    Jeff Bridoux is Lecturer in International Politics/Post-Conflict Reconstruction at the Aberystwyth University. He is the author of American Foreign Policy and Postwar Reconstruction (Routledge, 2011), a monograph seeking to understand the outcome of US-led postwar reconstruction by providing a new analytical framework relying on a Gramscian concept of power.

    Milja Kurki is Professor at the Department of International Politics. She was the Principal Investigator of the European Research Council funded project ‘Political Economies of Democratisation’ (2008-2012) and is the author of Causation in International Relations and Democratic Futures (Routledge, 2013).

    An excellent up-to-date introduction to democracy promotion is long overdue. This book’s subtle, challenging yet forward-looking analysis offers much more. It should be read by anyone with an interest in the subject. Peter Burnell, University of Warwick, UK.

    Anyone who wishes to make sense of global politics in the twenty-first century will have to understand the meaning and dynamics of democracy promotion. Jeff Bridoux and Milja Kurki have provided a critical primer on this major new component of Western policy that will be of great interest to students, scholars and policymakers alike.William I. Robinson, University of California at Santa Barbara, USA.

    Asking hard questions and eschewing easy answers, this stimulating, insightful study take the reader on an absorbing journey into the heart of the key debates and dilemmas defining democracy promotion today. Thomas Carothers, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, USA.

    Democracy Promotion asks all the right questions, providing an extraordinarily illuminating introduction not only to the practices and ideologies of contemporary democracy promotion per se, but also to many of the basic ideas of critical theories. While showing that democracy promotion has been closely connected to neoliberalisation and related hegemonic conceptions, Bridoux and Kurki carefully avoid over-simplications and conclude that democracy promotion is a multi-faceted practice which presents also opportunities for genuine emancipatory change. Highly recommended for students and practitioners of democracy across the world!

    Heikki Patomäki, Professor of World Politics, University of Helsinki, Finland.