Conflicting objectives in international 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.

Julia Leininger

Sonja Grimm, Universität Konstanz

2010 - 2013 / Abgeschlossen


The individualistic paths which democratization can take aggravate this complex situation further: In general, democratization 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 democratization can be supported. Faced with such complex realities, international actors often pursue democratization under the umbrella of ‘all good things go together’. However, the objective of democratization is likely to compete with other objectives of foreign support of different international actors, sometimes also of the very same actor.

The project pursued two aims:

(1) to systematize significant conflicts of objectives in democracy promotion, and
(2) to analyze these conflicts of objectives in order to explore their consequences for the success of democracy promotion. Ten international scholars study African, Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American processes of political change and seek to clarify the main purposes of democracy promotion policies. They focus 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.

The conceptual framework and findings from nine case studies were presented in the Secial 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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