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Rethinking democracy promotion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 February 2012

Abstract

Despite the fact that democracy promotion is a major part of liberal foreign policies, the discipline of International Relations has not paid much systematic attention to it. Conversely, the study of democracy promotion is dominated by comparative politics and pays hardly any attention to the international system. This mutual neglect signifies a core weakness in the theory and practice of democracy promotion: its failure to comprehend the development of liberal democracy as an international process. This article argues that a thorough engagement with John Locke explains the failures of democracy promotion policies and provides a more comprehensive understanding of the development of liberal democracy.

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Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © British International Studies Association 2012

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References

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5 Though modernisation theories and policies are sometimes excluded from the field of democracy promotion, I include them for two reasons: first, because the field of democracy promotion has historically developed out of modernisation theories (the theoretical basis for modernisation policies) with strong continuities between the two (see Cammack, Paul, Capitalism and Democracy in the Third World: The Doctrine for Political Development (London: Leicester University Press, 1997)Google Scholar); secondly, excluding modernisation policies on the grounds that they focus on economic development would logically lead to an exclusion of the entire ‘economic’ strand of democracy promotion theories and policies.

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42 Carothers, Critical Mission, p. 5.

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60 Przeworski, ‘The Neoliberal Fallacy’, p. 55.

61 Ibid.

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71 Ibid., p. 351.

72 Locke developed a philosophy of history explaining such counterevidence. In a nutshell, he argued that while states had originally been established on the basis of consent, over time rulers exploited their position and justified authoritarian government with reference to illiberal custom and tradition that gradually shaped the political imagination of the people; Locke, Two Treatises, pp. 329, 343.

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77 Ibid., p. 291.

78 Ibid., p. 299.

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82 Acemoglu and Robinson, Economic Origins, pp. 349–50.

83 McNally, David, Political Economy and the Rise of Capitalism: A Reinterpretation (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 62, 89Google Scholar; Perelman, Invention of Capitalism, p. 175. McNally reports that in 1710 the first private enclosure act was presented in Parliament, followed by 100 between 1720–50, 139 between 1750–60, 900 between 1760–79, and 2000 between 1793–1815 (p. 11).

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89 Przeworski et al., Democracy and Development; Acemoglu and Robinson, Economic Origins, p. 58.

90 Acemoglu and Robinson, Economic Origins, p. 82; Chirot, Daniel, ‘Does Democracy Work in Deeply Divided Societies?’, in Barany, Zoltan and Moser, Robert G. (eds), Is Democracy Exportable? (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 107Google Scholar.

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99 Plattner, Democracy, p. 62.

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106 Carothers, Critical Mission; Berman, ‘Civil Society and the State’; De Zeeuw and Kumar, Promoting Democracy.

107 Huntington, ‘Democracy's Third Wave’, p. 33.

108 Przeworski, ‘The Neoliberal Fallacy’, p. 55.

109 Rose, ‘Democracy Promotion’, p. 201.

110 Przeworski, ‘The Neoliberal Fallacy’; Acemoglu and Robinson, Economic Origins, p. 348.

111 Nancy Bermeo, ‘Conclusion: Is Democracy Exportable?’, in Barany and Moser, Is Democracy Exportable?, p. 259.

112 Acemoglu and Robinson, Economic Origins, pp. 350, 357.

113 Rose, ‘Democracy Promotion’, p. 189.

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