Micro-Assistance to Democracy: Two Revolutions in Promoting Consolidation of Democracy in Developing Countries

Fioramonti, Lorenzo, (2012). Micro-Assistance to Democracy: Two Revolutions in Promoting Consolidation of Democracy in Developing Countries. Strategic Review of Southern Africa, 34(2), 151-160

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  • Sub-type Journal article
    Author Fioramonti, Lorenzo
    Title Micro-Assistance to Democracy: Two Revolutions in Promoting Consolidation of Democracy in Developing Countries
    Appearing in Strategic Review of Southern Africa
    Volume 34
    Issue No. 2
    Publication Date 2012-04-04
    Place of Publication Online
    Publisher University of Pretoria
    Start page 151
    End page 160
    Language En
    Abstract Despite acknowledging the need for nurturing democracy from within, democracy assistance programmes have often been carried out in a top-down fashion. By starting from the limits of democracy assistance, this article outlines the notion of micro-assistance to democracy, which can be defined as support to local civil society organizations operating at the most grassroots level, and establishes a comparison between micro-assistance to democracy and the case of micro-credit in anti-poverty policies. Both micro-credit and micro-assistance to democracy share the same understanding of development (the former economic, the latter political) as a bottom-up process. In cases of democratic consolidation where it is deemed to be a feasible and effective approach, micro-assistance to democracy encourages the deepening of democratic practices and vertical accountability and responsiveness. Acknowledging the potential of micro-assistance to democracy would bring about two revolutions in the way democracy assistance has been traditionally conceived of. The first revolution is a Copernican revolution, since democratic consolidation comes to be understood as a mainly bottom-up process, radically opposite to the more traditional top-down rationale of the last decade of democracy promotion policies. The second revolution regards how to measure democratic advancement. Arguing that democracy assistance can more effectively be assessed at the micro-level of local projects, this analysis maintains that micro-assistance to democracy provides international donors with more reliable information on the impact of democracy assistance programmes. Since micro-assistance to democracy produces a regression to local democratic development as the first source of knowledge, this second revolution might be seen as a Cartesian epistemological reconstruction
    Keyword Democracy assistance
    Development
    Micro-finance
    Bottom-up change
    Copyright Holder University of Pretoria
    Copyright Year 2012
    Copyright type All rights reserved
    DOI 10.1080/03932729.2012.655015
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    Created: Fri, 18 Apr 2014, 14:59:03 JST