The late-twentieth century is often portrayed as an ‘Age of Democratisation’, with democracy heralded as the best of all political systems. Yet democracy has multiple meanings, values and significances. The start of the twenty-first century has witnessed a massive revival of interest in the meaning and role of democracy, not least as democracy understood in one highly particular sense has been increasingly recognised to be in crisis.
This book presents these deliberations in a new light by moving beyond the concept of the sovereign state as the dominant framework of enquiry and by rejecting the primacy of the state and the categorical separation of the ‘domestic’ and the ‘international’. Instead, Ayers elaborates an account of democratisation through the global political economy, encompassing a trenchant critique of mainstream democracy promotion in theory and practice, and opening-up possibilities for different histories of democratisation autonomous of the Western liberal and neoliberal project.
This innovative work will prove useful to scholars and students in the fields of Politics, Political Economy, International Relations, Development, African Studies, History, Geography and Sociology.
About the Author
Dr Alison Ayers is Research Associate in the Centre for Global Political Economy at the University of Sussex. She has held faculty positions at the University of Southampton and Simon Fraser University and was Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London. Previous employment included research and programme work in Africa, Latin America and the UK, with community and indigenous organisations, NGOs, the United Nations and leading research institutes. She is editor of Gramsci, Political Economy and International Relations Theory: Modern Princes and Naked Emperors (2008/2013) and has published recent articles in Citizenship Studies, Critical Sociology, International Politics, New Political Economy, Policy and Society, Political Studies, Review of African Political Economy, Studies in Political Economy, and Third World Quarterly.
Table of Contents
PART I: Theoretical and Methodological Underpinnings
1. Beyond the State We’re In: The Mutual Constitution of the Domestic and International Domains
PART II: Democratisation Revisited – The Liberal Project Redux
2. Ideology of Imperialism: Capitalism, Liberalism and Democracy
3. ‘We All Know A Democracy When We See One’: Promulgating the Orthodox Notion of Democracy
4. Imperial Liberties: The Global Constitution of (Neo)Liberal Democracy in Africa
5. Encountering the Orthodoxy: More on the Limits and Antinomies of (Neo)Liberal Democracy
PART III: Expropriating the Expropriators – Reclaiming African Political History
6. Peoples Without Democracy? Precolonial Political Communities and Mindscapes
7. Enter the (Neo)Colony: Anti-Democracy and the (Neo)Colonial Condition
Conclusion: Eight Theses Towards a Substantive Democracy