Foto: Matthias Friel
What is democracy promotion, and who is active in this field? Is democracy promotion effective and ethical? What are the most important contemporary challenges to democracy promotion? How can we theorize democracy promotion? In this course we will learn what International Relations (IR) can tell us about these questions. In an IR perspective, democracy promotion has evolved as a distinct and predominantly liberal activity at least since the 1980s-90s. It can take many forms, including military intervention, electoral assistance or civil society aid. Many national and multilateral actors are involved in democracy promotion and pursue at times compatible, and at other times uncoordinated and perhaps conflicting objectives. Hence, and even though democracy promotion evokes connotations of normative and desirable conduct, scholars and practitioners alike have raised legitimacy questions even before the related crises of democracy and democracy promotion. To approach this topic, we will first familiarize ourselves with theoretical perspectives on democracy promotion before we scrutinize different actors and activities. We will focus on case studies from the Middle East and democracy promotion in Tunisia, as this is the most successful example remaining from the Arab Spring. Finally, we will turn to critical debates in democracy promotion, for instance on democracy promotion as hegemony, or conflicting objectives in democracy promotion. This course is designed to help you understand the history and contemporary practice of democracy promotion as well as the debates that surround it. We will examine IR research on the topic as well as materials written by and for the people who are involved in the practice of democracy promotion around the world. The course is designed for 35 students.
a) Class participation (all students): I expect you to attend our sessions and hope you will participate in our discussions. Active participation (including asking good questions) is the best way to learn the material.
b) Presentations or equivalents (all students): Students will give one 20-minute presentation on a topic, alone or in a group. Presentations should not summarize the reading but rather develop a position towards the assigned texts and topics. Equivalents to presentations may include the submission (3 days before class) and presentation of 4 position papers or organization and moderation of pro-/contra discussion or simulation of a round table.
c) Final paper (only for students seeking full credit): The final paper consists of a 5,000- word essay focused on democracy promotion. Specific topics are to be determined by students in consultation with the instructor. The essays are due September 7.
© Copyright HISHochschul-Informations-System eG