Governmentality and EU Democracy Promotion: The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and the Construction of Democratic Civil Societies

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Abstract

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) is often considered the “jewel in the crown” of the European Union’s democracy promotion. Its mandate encompasses the funding of democratizing civil society organizations and thus the facilitation of democratization “from below.” It is argued here that if we apply Foucauldian governmentality tools to the analysis of the workings of the EIDHR, we can see that, despite the pluralistic rhetoric that guides it, the Instrument’s objectives and management structures facilitate particular kinds of democratic visions. Neoliberal governmentality, it is argued, may be hidden deep within the expectations set for EU-funded civil society “democratizers.” This has important consequences for how we understand the model of democracy that the European Union promotes and the power relations of the European Union’s “locally owned” democracy promotion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-366
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Political Sociology
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011

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