'It’s the Political, Stupid’: National versus Transnational Perspectives on Democratisation in Iraq

Jeff Bridoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (SciVal)
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Abstract

William Robinson’s work on democracy promotion focuses on polyarchy, or low-intensity democracy, a form of political regime that favours the Parsonian-Schumpeterian focus on electoral procedures between competing elites, as being the model promoted by the United States since the 1980s. Robinson argues that democracy promotion is an instrument working in favour of a capitalist transnational elite, organising the capitalist domination of popular masses and taming potential aspirations for enlarged democratisation of the social and economic life. This article focuses on the implications of such questioning of Robinson’s understanding of democracy promotion and claims back democracy promotion from its Robinsonian instrumentalisation. In other words, the article argues that it is necessary to reconstruct democracy by putting some normative and political flesh back on its frame; a much needed conceptual enterprise that is critical to rejecting the contemporary mantra insisting on free-market economy and Parsonian-Schumpeterian procedural liberal democracy as the best package to spread democracy. Consequently, we claim that while there are clearly historical instances of democracy promotion used to achieve other means than genuine democratisation, i.e. democracy promotion as foreign policy instruments; there are also instances of democracy promotion being non-instrumentalised. Consequently, we argue that particular national problems of democracy promotion are relatively more important to consider than those generated by transnational processes identified by Robinson. The recent case of democratisation in Iraq provides the empirical background on which our conceptual argument relies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-571
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Human Rights
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2011

Keywords

  • statebuilding
  • Iraq
  • democracy promotion
  • polyarchy
  • transnational capitalism

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