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Democracy promotion in reverse? An evaluation of the UK and the US’s democracy promotion programmes (2005-2017).

Patel, M., 2020. Democracy promotion in reverse? An evaluation of the UK and the US’s democracy promotion programmes (2005-2017). Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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PATEL, Meera_Ph.D._2020.pdf



This thesis provides an original contribution to knowledge by arguing that UK and US democracy promotion is in reverse. In order to fully understand democracy promotion in an era of democratic decline, this thesis draws upon two dominant theories: democratisation and foreign policy analysis. This thesis critically evaluates applied democracy promotion, thereby transitioning theoretical research into practical democracy promotion and arguing it is in reverse. Democracy promotion as democratisation can be explained as the process by which developing, or undemocratic nations, use to transition towards democracy. Democracy promotion as a foreign policy has developed from the UK and the US’s motives to build relationships with developing nations in order to achieve necessary foreign policy goals. The UK and the US are the two most prominent promotors of democracy, thus have been chosen as donor nations as they use democratisation and foreign policy as a channel to facilitate this. An unequal relationship between donor states and recipient states has occurred due to a misunderstanding of democracy promotion aims and objectives. This shows democracy promotion is in reverse as donors promote democracy in their own interests and not for the needs of the recipients. More importantly, although democracy promotion is becoming more prevalent than ever, the misalignment of aims and objectives from donors has led to the argument that democracy promotion is in reverse. The purpose of this research is twofold. Firstly, in order to argue democracy promotion is in reverse, it is necessary to understand what democracy promotion is and who is promoting it. Secondly, it is crucial to evaluate how democracy is promoted. By positing a holistic picture of democracy promotion, this thesis asserts that democracy promotion is in reverse. Alongside the usage of secondary data sources, (including a literature review and document analysis), data was collected through interviews to generate primary data. This thesis offers a comparative analysis of the UK and the US’s democracy promotion programmes from 2005-2017, with the timeframe chosen in order to capture the period of decline in the number of democracies worldwide. The central argument for democracy promotion in reverse is that the UK and the US’s, as donors of democracy promotion, reinforce their self-image of democracy at home, into recipient nations, rather than strengthening permanent outcomes of democracy in a form that is best s uited to the recipient. This lack of permanent change within recipient states is further enhanced by the lack of universal application of guidelines to UK and US democracy promotion programmes. Consequently, with no universal methodology enforced by the UK and the US to programmes, it has become unclear as to whether it is a successful endeavour and allows space for donors to benefit more from programmes. This thesis is unique in its exploration of this topic as previous scholarship has concentrated on acknowledging that democratisation has stagnated in the past decade, yet has failed to develop a deeper rationale for this. This thesis presents the evidence for this decline in democracy, as democracy promotion in reverse.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:If you feel that this work infringes your copyright please contact the BURO Manager.
Uncontrolled Keywords:democracy; international development; foreign policy; politics; international relations
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:33229
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:13 Jan 2020 10:55
Last Modified:14 Mar 2022 14:19


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