Interrogating the European Union’s Democracy Promotion Agenda: Discursive Configurations of "Democracy"

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Following the electoral victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections of January 2006, the international community reacted by suspending aid to the democratically elected Hamas government. Across Middle Eastern societies, this move and the events that followed since ushered in a complete loss of credibility in the discourse of external actors like the European Union (EU) and their declared quest for promoting democracy in the region. Are we witnessing the demise of the EU’s democracy promotion agenda given the perception from the Middle East (ME) in regard to its inconsistent discourse? This article aims to address how a critical engagement with the ways in which the EU constructs itself as a normative power, in its attempts at exporting its model of liberal democracy, might shed light on questions central to contemporary EU-ME relations. In particular, it surveys discursive configurations of ‘democracy’ in the ME. By way of conclusion, the article holds that the EU should reflect on these internal and diverse debates, which may in turn necessitate a reframing of its own discourse on democracy promotion in the ME: this process of reframing need not negate its principles.
TidsskriftEuropean Foreign Affairs Review
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)611-628
StatusUdgivet - 2010
Udgivet eksterntJa

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