Deutsch Intern
Institute of Political Science and Sociology

Conference: Democracy Promotion in Times of De-Democratization

Jointly with Karina Mross, IDOS Bonn, and Brigitte Weiffen, Open University ,UK, Prof. Sonja Grimm organizes the international authors conference «Promoting and Protecting Democracy in Times of De-Democratization». The conference takes place 16 and 17 November 2023 and is hosted by IDOS in Bonn. Funding of the Fritz-Thyssen Foundation and the Research Network External Democracy Promotion is gratefully acknowledged.

International Conference, 16-17 November, IDOS, Bonn

Organised by the Chair of International Relations and European Politics, JMU Würzburg, the IDOS in Bonn, Germany, and the Open University, UK

“Promoting and Protecting Democracy in Times of De-Democratization”

Since the 1990s, external democracy promotion and protection has become a prominent tool of bi- and multilateral donors, as well as international and civil society organizations to promote and protect democracy in aid-recipient countries. However, democracy itself as well as promoters and supporters of democracy are challenged by a reversal of global trends: After decades of democratization, de-democratization is underway worldwide. While the primary role of democracy promotion has so far been to facilitate democratization processes that were already ongoing, democracy promoters are now faced with the challenge of counteracting the opposite trend and protecting and defending democracy. Despite a rich literature on democracy promotion, we know very little about how recent trends affect democracy promotion.

The international conference will substantially advance the academic debate on the policy of external democracy promotion and protection in times of de-democratization. It analyses how donors adapt their practices in the light of democratic backsliding, a process that currently takes place in donor and beneficiary countries alike, and what drives the adaption (or the lack thereof). The conference brings together a highly distinguished group of scholars with diverse academic backgrounds from universities and research institutions located in four different continents, including perspectives from the global south. 

Conference participation is by invitation only.

Conference funding by the Fritz-Thyssen Stiftung für Wissenschaftsförderung, the German Network External Democracy Promotion and IDOS is gratefully acknowledged. Conference results are planned to be published in a journal special issue in 2024.