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Promoting Polyarchy
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 (ISBN-13: 9781139241090)

Promoting Polyarchy is an exciting, detailed, and controversial work on the apparent change in US foreign policy from supporting dictatorships to an 'open' promotion of 'democratic' regimes. William I. Robinson argues that behind the façade of 'democracy promotion', the policy is designed more to retain the elite-based and undemocratic status quo of Third World countries than to encourage mass aspirations for democratization. He supports this challenging argument with a wealth of information garnered from field work and hitherto unpublished government documents, and assembled in case studies of the Philippines, Chile, Nicaragua, Haiti, South Africa, and the former Soviet Bloc. With its combination of theoretical and historical analysis, empirical argument, and bold claims, Promoting Polyarchy is an essential book for anyone concerned with democracy, globalization and international affairs.

• Original and controversial argument which runs against conventional wisdom, but backed up by carefully researched data • Contains highly revealing exposés of US foreign policy, using previously unpublished documents • Both stringently theoretical for scholars and topical enough to attract wider readership of students, journalists, policy-makers etc.


Introduction: from East-West to North-South: US intervention in the 'new world order'; 1. From 'straight power concepts' to 'persuasion' in US foreign policy; 2. Political operations in US foreign policy; 3. The Philippines: 'molded in the image of American democracy'; 4. Chile: ironing out a 'Fluke' of the political system; 5. Nicaragua: from low-intensity warfare to low-intensity democracy; 6. Haiti: the 'practically insolvable problem' of establishing consensual domination; 7. Conclusions: the future of polyarchy and global society.


'In Promoting Polyarchy William Robinson, building on a formidable array of local knowledge and theoretical reflection, makes the bold argument that democracy promotion in US foreign policy is best explained in terms of the pluralist idea of polyarchy and that this restricted conception of democracy serves the interests of an increasingly transnational elite. ... The logic of the analysis and the power of his case studies represent a challenge that complacent pluralists and those sceptical of globalization should not ignore.' Leslie Sklair, The London School of Economics and Political Science

'This book provides a sobering look at what it means to say the US is promoting democracy throughout the world. It is a good antidote to much academic pap.' Immanuel Wallerstein

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