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Essential Readings on "Democracy Promotion"

Publication: Essay, Working Paper
Jadaliyya, Middle East Studies Pedagogy Initiative (MESPI)
Arab Studies Institute
Research cluster:
Contested Governance
External attempts at “democracy promotion” are one of the defining features of global liberalism. A core principle guiding this Essential Reading is that the topic at hand needs to be unequivocally situated against the backdrop of a critical analysis of liberal thought. A main shortcoming of much of the mainstream literature on “democracy promotion” is the tendency to ignore related fundamental questions. Two such questions revolve around the contested nature of democracy and the ways in which external intervention and attempts at institutional engineering often perpetuate exactly those hierarchies that they initially set out to overcome. Mainstream literature, therefore, tends to reproduce rather than challenge the often sentimental, uncritical, and non-reflexive notions of enlightenment, moral progress, and their alleged intrinsic relationship to Western political formation that inform liberal thought.
Date of publication:
Language: English
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