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Expert Interventions for Democracy: The Historical and Epistemological Foundations of International Democracy

Expert Interventions for Democracy: The Historical and Epistemological Foundations of International Democracy

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Title: Expert Interventions for Democracy: The Historical and Epistemological Foundations of International Democracy
Author: Christensen, Michael Jacob
Abstract: The subject of this dissertation research is the field of professional organizations in North America that promote and assist democratization movements around the world. These organizations use a form of specialized expert knowledge to help activists, politicians and civil society organizations build democratic institutions. Specifically, this research investigates how historical academic debates shape the everyday practices of professionals in this field, and how these practices in turn shape contemporary debates. The study adopts a mixed methods approach by combining an intellectual history of democracy research and qualitative interview research with professionals working in the field. By examining the everyday practice of expertise, this dissertation contributes to emerging scholarly debates spanning the intersections of the sociology of knowledge, political sociology and international development studies by asking an ancient question. How can democracy be a collection of popular political ideals, yet also the object of specialized, technical or social scientific knowledge? According to the findings of this research, the contemporary practice of democracy assistance emerged out of debates about this paradox and, more importantly, organizations within this field rely on the insoluble nature of democratic theory and practice to justify expert interventions in countries struggling for democracy.
Subject: Sociology
Keywords: Evaluation practices
Democracy
Expertise
Sociology of knowledge
Type: Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/27685
Supervisor: Kurasawa, Fuyuki
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Program: Sociology
Exam date: 2014-04-14
Publish on: 2014-07-28

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