The Democracy Makers

The Democracy Makers: Human Rights and the Politics of Global Order

Nicolas Guilhot
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/guil13124
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    The Democracy Makers
    Book Description:

    Has the international movement for democracy and human rights gone from being a weapon against power to part of the arsenal of power itself? Nicolas Guilhot explores this question in his penetrating look at how the U.S. government, the World Bank, political scientists, NGOs, think tanks, and various international organizations have appropriated the movement for democracy and human rights to export neoliberal policies throughout the world. His work charts the various symbolic, ideological, and political meanings that have developed around human rights and democracy movements. Guilhot suggests that these shifting meanings reflect the transformation of a progressive, emancipatory movement into an industry, dominated by "experts," ensconced in positions of power.

    Guilhot's story begins in the 1950s when U.S. foreign policy experts promoted human rights and democracy as part of a "democratic international" to fight the spread of communism. Later, the unlikely convergence of anti-Stalinist leftists and the nascent neoconservative movement found a place in the Reagan administration. These "State Department Socialists," as they were known, created policies and organizations that provided financial and technical expertise to democratic movements, but also supported authoritarian, anti-communist regimes, particularly in Latin America.

    Guilhot also traces the intellectual and social trajectories of key academics, policymakers, and institutions, including Seymour M. Lipset, Jeane Kirkpatrick, the "Chicago Boys," including Milton Friedman, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Ford Foundation. He examines the ways in which various individuals, or "double agents," were able to occupy pivotal positions at the junction of academe, national, and international institutions, and activist movements. He also pays particular attention to the role of the social sciences in transforming the old anti-Communist crusades into respectable international organizations that promoted progressive and democratic ideals, but did not threaten the strategic and economic goals of Western governments and businesses.

    Guilhot's purpose is not to disqualify democracy promotion as a conspiratorial activity. Rather he offers new perspectives on the roles of various transnational human rights institutions and the policies they promote. Ultimately, his work proposes a new model for understanding the international politics of legitimate democratic order and the relation between popular resistance to globalization and the "Washington Consensus."

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50419-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction: The Cosmopolitics of Democratization
    (pp. 1-28)

    With the end of the cold war, democracy and human rights seem to have become the organizing principles of a new international order, whose protracted birth might not be over yet.¹ It is from these superior principles that, increasingly, national and international jurisdictions are required to derive their legitimacy. Inherited from conflict-ridden centuries of state-building, sovereignty itself is being transformed; it can no longer exist unless erected upon these powerful normative foundations. Democracy and human rights are coming close to being the Grundnorm which sustains the very idea of law itself, in a fashion reminiscent of the cosmopolitical order Kelsen...

  5. 1 From Cold Warriors to Human Rights Activists
    (pp. 29-68)

    A human rights group in Cambodia receives $50,000 to train NGO personnel; an offshoot of the American Chamber of Commerce receives $124,612 to organize a workshop for African think tanks; an organization of indigenous women of the Peruvian Amazon receives $33,200 to enhance women’s participation in local community groups and local elections.¹ There are many more examples. Today, there exists a global infrastructure network that encompasses and influences a variety of NGOs, local groups, political movements, and lobbies of all kinds. Its very existence represents a constant and enduring challenge to the claims to sovereignty and the power of authoritarian...

  6. 2 The Field of Democracy and Human Rights: Shaping a Professional Arena Around a New Liberal Consensus
    (pp. 69-100)

    With the active support of the newly elected Reagan administration, the neoconservative strategy of a crusade for democracy based on cold war internationalism was essentially picked up from where it had been set down in the mid-1960s, when the behind-the-scenes role of the CIA in funding the Congress for Cultural Freedom was revealed. Indeed, the democracy promotion programs of the 1980s were created almost exclusively by networks of policy activists, organizers, and other cold war ideologues trained in the old political tradition of Trotskyism, “State Department socialism,” and right-wing Social Democracy. In establishing the National Endowment for Democracy and in...

  7. 3 From the Development Engineers to the Democracy Doctors: The Rise and Fall of Modernization Theory
    (pp. 101-133)

    The centrality of democracy and human rights in U.S. foreign policy discourse has been matched by scholarly efforts to generate a science or a “proto-science” (Schmitter 1994) of democratization. The institutionalization of “democratization studies” as a recognized curriculum in major U.S. universities is the outcome of a long process of theoretical renewal in political science. This renewal has developed against a previous body of theory, broadly speaking the political sociology of modernization which was a dominant research program of the 1950s and the 1960s. Against this academic tradition and the associated liberal ideology of social progress which endowed the particular...

  8. 4 Democratization Studies and the Construction of a New Orthodoxy
    (pp. 134-165)

    In his analysis of the cultural Pax Americana that the Establishment sought to impose in Latin America and other continents after 1945, Edward Berman wrote that one of the aims of the educational and philanthropic policy it pursued was to create “a worldwide network of elites whose approach to governance and change would be efficient, professional, moderate, incremental, and nonthreatening to the class interests of those who, like Messrs, Carnegie, Ford, and Rockefeller, had established the foundations” (1983: 15). Because it reflected the same, deep-seated “set of beliefs, anxieties, prejudices, and values” (Latham 1998: 206), modernization theory was an integral...

  9. 5 International Relations Theory and the Emancipatory Narrative of Human Rights Networks
    (pp. 166-187)

    The much-celebrated triumph of democracy at the end of the twentieth century is often presented as the victory of an idea. The spread of democracy was not the result of economic development or increased social differentiation, as suggested by the old paradigm of modernization theory, but rather a diffuse process driven by beliefs, values, and ideas. The intangible “power of ideas” had toppled the material arrangements of established powers. In the late 1980s, with significant timeliness, a consultant for the State and the Defense Departments revived the old theme of the “end of ideology” that dominated debates among social scientists...

  10. 6 Financing the Construction of “Market Democracies”: The World Bank and the Global Supervision of “Good Governance”
    (pp. 188-221)

    The scientific and activist discourse on the power of ideas and of transnational issue networks has found a significant outlet in the political science literature on the World Bank. Whether it concerns the relations between the Bank and NGOs (Hodson 1997; Fox and Brown 1998), the role of development “ideas” or environmental groups in changing its policies (Finnemore 1997), or the place of minorities or women in its projects (Hodge and Magenheim 1994), much of the focus has been on the emergence of emancipatory values and “universals” (human rights, environmental protection) in the practice of the Bank. These reformist prescriptions...

  11. Conclusion
    (pp. 222-224)

    In 1583, against the civic and Republican ideal defended earlier by Machiavelli, the Italian Jesuit secretary Giovanni Botero defined a new form of rationality related to the emergence of the modern state. This knowledge sought to codify “the appropriate means to build and to preserve and amplify a kingdom” (Botero 1997 [1583]: 7). The specificity of this knowledge was that it adopted and identified itself with the point of view of the state and of its administrative apparatus: it was aptly defined as Reason of State (Ragion di Stato). Modern political science was entirely built around this paradigm, as a...

  12. Appendix A List of “Democracy Experts”: The Research Council of the International Forum for Democratic Studies
    (pp. 225-226)
  13. Notes
    (pp. 227-244)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 245-266)
  15. Index of Names
    (pp. 267-270)
  16. Index of Subjects
    (pp. 271-274)