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  • Cited by 22
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
November 2019
Print publication year:
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Book description

Appearing against the backdrop of Jordan's remarkable levels of authoritarian stability and accounting for Jordan being one of the highest recipients of US and European 'democracy promotion' funding, Promoting Democracy, Reinforcing Authoritarianism examines what external 'democracy promoters' actually do when they promote democracy. By examining why Jordanian authoritarianism is so stable, not despite but in part because of external attempts at 'democracy promotion', Benjamin Schuetze demonstrates the depth of Orientalist attitudes among 'democracy promoters'. In highlighting the undermining of democratic values as they become circumscribed by the free market and security concerns, Schuetze suggests that although US and European policy in Jordan comes under the cloak of a universal morality which claims the surmounting of authoritarianism as its objective, its effect is not that different to traditional modes of imperial support for authoritarian regimes. As a result, this is a vivid illustration of what greater US and European policy presence in the Global South really means.


'Schuetze has produced a much-needed analysis of how US and EU 'democracy promotion' in Jordan buttresses authoritarian rule. Textured and layered, his work challenges ideas of a benevolent monarchy and well-intentioned external actors, providing us with important insights into the logics and limits of the 'reform game' in Jordan.'

Ziad M. Abu-Rish - Ohio University

'Schuetze offers a theoretically-informed, practice-oriented, empirically rigorous expose of ‘Western’ promotion of certain aspects of procedural democracy in Jordan. In addition to projects oriented towards elections and civil society, respectively, he investigates neoliberal economic models and security collaboration, placing political aid in the context of global power structures and ideologies.'

Sheila Carapico - University of Richmond

'Western democracy promotion programs in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan have been state of the art for decades. In this important study, Schuetze blows the lid off by examining what democracy promotion actually does. Based on a wealth of interviews and striking observational evidence, Schuetze frames democracy promotion policies as intimately tied to monarchical absolutism in Jordan.'

Pete W. Moore - Case Western Reserve University, Ohio

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