By Anna Khakee and Sarah Wolff
This special issue expands on the existing literature on the international dimension of democratization by focusing on democracy projection, defined as the projection of (democratic) norms in the every-day practice of interactions, beyond any donor-recipient relationship, between states and foreign civil society actors on issue areas where both have interests to defend. The SI examines the issue areas of trade, anti-corruption, applied research, gender and LGBTI, focusing on EU practices in its everyday dealings with civil society in the Southern Mediterranean. The authors conclude, based on comparative case studies relying on extensive interviews, direct observations and content analysis, that democracy projection varies according to four main factors: EU’s perceived interest, its ideational commitment to norms of dialogue and inclusion, the degree of institutional inertia and discourses/structures of meanings dominating in some policy areas which preclude EU engagement on substance.
To read the article, please see https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13629395.2021.1883283
By Sarah Wolff
To what extent is the EU projecting democratic norms in the area of gender? Gender equality and women’s empowerment have been at the heart of the EU’s external action since the Arab uprisings. This article is an in-depth study of how the EU interacts with non-state actors in practice, and beyond the recipient-donor relationship, in the format of tripartite dialogue whereby the EU, civil society and the Tunisian government consult each other before any major EU meeting. First, this article reviews what EU democracy projection involves in the field of gender equality. Then it offers a mapping of the local, active participants on feminism and gender equality. Third, the article focuses on an innovative practice of trust-building, that of the gender sub-group of the tripartite dialogue. The main argument is that the dialogue has provided a new venue to project trust-building practices that are central to the consolidation of democracy. Yet this practice is weakened by the lack of considerations of major divides around gender in Tunisian society. Interaction on democratic norms thus remains secluded to a very selective venue. Democracy projection is, however, not fully ‘transversal’ as the Islamist-secularist cleavage, socioeconomic inequalities and divides of the rural peripheries constrain the impact of the tripartite dialogue and subsequent democracy projection.
To read the article, please see: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13629395.2021.1883285