Wandering in Twilight? Democracy Promotion by the EU and the USA and Democratization in Armenia

Babayan, Nelli (2012) Wandering in Twilight? Democracy Promotion by the EU and the USA and Democratization in Armenia. PhD thesis, University of Trento.

PDF - Doctoral Thesis


Although democracy promotion initiatives have spread around the world and supported transition, many countries have fallen back into autocracy or stalled on their way to democracy. However, the events in the Middle East and Northern Africa have revitalised the issue of democratization. On the other hand, this cry for democracy seems to be homegrown, casting doubts about the efficacy of external democracy promotion. Nevertheless, stalled and setback democracies cannot be blamed solely on the flawed strategies of democracy promoters or autocratic stubbornness of democracy targets. Similarly, labelling democracy promotion as “the grand failure” of the West is an argumentative overstretch, which lacks any practical application. This dissertation argues that democracy can be achieved from outside, but the obstacles associated with it are more serious than anticipated by promoters. More specifically, the chances of liberal democracy being exported from outside will increase provided the utility of domestic adaptation to democracy is at least moderate, promoters are actively involved in resolution of pressing national issues, and there is no regional actor that blocks democracy and receives support for its policies from the target country. By structurally and conceptually expanding Schimmelfennig’s international socialization framework, this study develops an analytical framework to decipher mechanisms, strategies, and subsequent outcomes of democracy promotion and democratization. While applied to Armenia, the proposed framework is a useful reference for both academics and practitioners as it provides tools for researching the outcome of democracy and democratization and provides policy recommendations. This dissertation introduces the concept of democracy blocker—a powerful authoritarian regional actor capable and willing to influence domestic policy choices of a democracy promotion target in order to block democratization. This study also makes an empirical contribution by comparing democracy promotion policies in a country that has long been neglected by the academic literature. Using process-tracing, within-case, and before-after analyses, this study compares democracy promotion policies of the EU and the USA within three different target-sectors in Armenia. The analysis of three different target-sectors of democracy promotion—elections, parties, and the media—shows democratic transformation on the macro level of a country and micro level of specific sectors. This study argues that increased political and economic interdependence and interconnectedness of different realms within a democratizing country has led to merging of international democracy promotion and domestic democratization. In addition, the mere adoption of a law or a code of conduct does not guarantee the establishment of democracy and democratic behaviour by domestic stakeholders. Consequently, a likely upgrade of a formal democratic transformation into a behavioural one, would require democracy promoters to guarantee consistency in their efforts and follow-up on their activities, without assuming that a formally adopted rule or a completed project will necessarily assure rule-based behaviour. Thus, democracy promotion needs to be simultaneously cross-sectoral, offering material incentives for democratic transformation. Democracy promotion has the potential to not only produce numerous academic and policy analyses but also to result in a genuine democratic transformation, if promoters rationally choose their strategies and base them on existing domestic conditions.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:International Studies
PhD Cycle:XXIV
Subjects:Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/04 SCIENZA POLITICA
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