Analysis and Policy

Liberal or Social Democracy? Aspects of the EU’s Democracy Promotion Agenda in the Middle East

Author

Dr Michelle Pace, Senior Research Fellow, Political Science and International Studies Department (POLSIS), European Research Institute, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom (Commissioned author)

Type of document

Discussion paper on the EU's role in democracy building

First released at

October 23, 2009

Keywords

Foreign and Security Policy, EU Neighbourhood, Human Rights, Arab World

English, 16 pages

Excerpt from the discussion paper on the eu's role in democracy building

This paper questions how liberal democracy has come to symbolize an ideal, or a universal set of values ready to be exported elsewhere in the world. It critically assesses the EU’s almost messianic mission to promote its successful project of liberal democracy, and the ways in which the EU seeks to teach others about its meaning while refusing to aspect learn about alternative forms of political organization in different contexts. It discusses the implications of such a narrow framing of EU conceptions of liberal democracy, drawing on extensive fieldwork carried out in Palestine and Egypt in September 2007 and March 2008, respectively. The paper argues for a new framing of political transformation in the Middle East and North Africa. It concludes by employing Aletta Norval’s notion of Aversive Democracy to highlight the need for recognition of crucial aspects of political change that stem from what is emerging in the Middle East.

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