Conflicting objectives of democracy promotion

Conflicting objectives challenge the effectiveness of democracy promotion. Scholars and practitioners have been widely acknowledging this as a matter of fact in democracy support. Any target country of democracy promotion faces a multitude of international actors who pursue diverging interests and aims. This project focused the emergence and consequences of conflicting objectives in democracy promotion.

Project Team:
Julia Leininger

Sonja Grimm, University Konstanz

Time frame:
2010 - 2012 / completed

Co-operation Partner:

Network „External Democracy Promotion“

Project description

The individualistic paths which democratisation can take aggravate this complex situation further: In general, democratisation does not follow one universal pattern, which could serve as a recipe for easy support from the outside. In each individual case democracy promoters have to rethink how, when and by which means democratisation can be supported. Faced with such complex realities, international actors often pursue democratisation under the umbrella of ‘all good things go together’. However, the objective of democratisation is likely to compete with other objectives of foreign support of different international actors, sometimes also of the very same actor.

This project pursued two aims: (1) to systematise significant conflicts of objectives in democracy promotion, and (2) to analyse these conflicts of objectives in order to explore their consequences for the success of democracy promotion. Ten international scholars studied African, Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American processes of political change and seeked to clarify the main purposes of democracy promotion policies. They focused their analysis on possible trade-offs between democracy promotion and other relevant areas of external support like security-building, peace-building, state-building, capacity-building and empowerment.


First Results:
The conceptual framework and findings from nine case studies are presented in the Special Issue "Do all good things go together? Conflicting objectives in democracy promotion", edited by Julia Leininger, Sonja Grimm and Tina Freyburg.


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