Political speeches and even policy analysis from Washington, Ottawa, and the capitals of Europe in the past two decades about promoting democratization tend towards generalities and platitudes. This research asks what Western and international agencies actually do, on the ground in the Middle East, by way of fomenting democracy. Taking my inspiration from the sociologist Albert Hirschman who decades ago observed that projects are “privileged particles”[i] of socio-economic development assistance, I’ve collected well over twelve hundred examples.[ii] This summary table illustrates the aggregate finding that most projects cluster around electoral representation, legal or judicial development, and support for liberal elements of civil society, and that they are mostly about collecting or distributing information or supporting institutions to do this work.

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Copyright © 2009 Cambridge University Press.

The definitive version is available at:

DOI: 10.1017/S002074380809003X

Full Citation:

Carapico, Sheila. "What Does It Mean, "Promoting Democratization"?" International Journal of Middle East Studies 41, no. 1 (2009): 7-9. doi:10.1017/S002074380809003X.