Democracy Promotion: A Critical Introduction, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Democracy Promotion

A Critical Introduction, 1st Edition

By Jeff Bridoux, Milja Kurki


134 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780415857802
pub: 2014-02-04
Hardback: 9780415857796
pub: 2014-02-07
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pub: 2014-03-05
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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.


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.

Table of Contents

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?

About the Authors

Jeff Bridouxis 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).

About the Series


The Series provides a forum for innovative and interdisciplinary work that engages with alternative critical, post-structural, feminist, postcolonial, psychoanalytic and cultural approaches to international relations and global politics. In our first 5 years we have published 60 volumes.

We aim to advance understanding of the key areas in which scholars working within broad critical post-structural traditions have chosen to make their interventions, and to present innovative analyses of important topics. Titles in the series engage with critical thinkers in philosophy, sociology, politics and other disciplines and provide situated historical, empirical and textual studies in international politics.


We are very happy to discuss your ideas at any stage of the project: just contact us for advice or proposal guidelines. Proposals should be submitted directly to the Series Editors:

  • Jenny Edkins ( and
  • Nick Vaughan-Williams (

‘As Michel Foucault has famously stated, "knowledge is not made for understanding; it is made for cutting" In this spirit The Edkins - Vaughan-Williams Interventions series solicits cutting edge, critical works that challenge mainstream understandings in international relations. It is the best place to contribute post disciplinary works that think rather than merely recognize and affirm the world recycled in IR's traditional geopolitical imaginary.’

Michael J. Shapiro, University of Hawai'i at Manoa, USA


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / General