Featured Publication

Seeking to extend the debate on the diversity of democracy, this book provides the reader with a comprehensive account of how two different global actors, the European Union and the World Social Forum respond to the challenges of globalization with various models of democracy and modes of cooperation at the transnational level.

Analysing EU democracy assistance in the EU’s neighbourhood, Fiedlschuster sheds light on the complex relationship between the EU and civil society. Although the EU perceives a vital civil society as crucial for democracy, its mix of a governance approach with deliberative and participatory democracy will unlikely result in a citizen-centred democracy.

The book also provides a compelling account of the World Social Forum and its participants interviewed for this work attempt to answer one of the challenges of contemporary globalization: How can civil society pursue democratically global social change? Fiedlschuster skilfully deploys various sociological approaches not only to analyse concepts and practices of democracy by transnational activists but also to throw light on the tensions between democratic idealism and anti-democratic tendencies in the Forum. This book will be of wide interest to students and academics, including those working within political sociology, European Union politics, and globalization.

This entry probes whether neoliberalism is hegemonic in European Democracy promotion. It analyzes the models of democracy and strategies of democratization of two democracy promoters in Europe, the European Union and the United States, both of whom are key to understanding the relationship between neoliberalism and democracy promotion. This article sheds light on the way in which democracy promotion and democratization processes can be a component of the extension of neoliberalism in Europe. Second, it aims at a better understanding of the conceptual and practical implications of neoliberal thinking for democracy. Carving out neoliberalism’s influence on democracy helps to grasp better why there is often a gap between the democratic rhetoric of and its implementation by democracy promoters. It is argued that neoliberalism is in fact hegemonic in European democracy promotion. The US and the EU, both in their own way, pushed for neoliberal economic transformations and advanced neoliberal principles in democracy promotion. Nevertheless, democracy promotion policies neither consistently nor exclusively advocate neoliberalism. Rather, the policies draw from a variety of political traditions. Liberal and social democratic elements are promoted alongside neoliberal principles, which often results in inconsistencies and competing  priorities.

Neoliberalism and European Democracy Promotion

List of Publications

Fiedlschuster, Micha, and Leon Rosa Reichle. “Global Pandemic, Local Solidarity: Six Civic Initiatives from Leipzig, Germany.” Culture, Practice & Europeanization 6, no. 1 (2021): 39–54.

Fiedlschuster, Micha, and Leon Rosa Reichle. “Solidarity Forever? Performing Mutual Aid in Leipzig, Germany.” Interface 12, no. 1 (2020): 317–25.

Fiedlschuster, Micha, and Christian Schröder. 2019. “Eine Institution Der Globalisierungskritik?” Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 32 (2): 207–220.

Fiedlschuster, Micha. 2019. “Neoliberalism and European Democracy Promotion.” In The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism, edited by Immanuel Ness and Zak Cope, 1–23. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

———. 2018. Globalization, EU Democracy Assistance and the World Social Forum: Concepts and Practices of Democracy. Cham: Palgrave MacMillan.

———. 2017. “The World Social Forum as a Portal of Globalization.” Comparativ 27 (3–4): 171–85.

———. 2016. “Democratizing EU Democracy Assistance? The EU’s Perspective on Civil Society.” In European Neighbourhood Policy. Geopolitics between Integration and Security, edited by Bettina Bruns, Dorit Happ, and Helga Zichner, 71–92. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

———. 2013. “Occupied Space: Repräsentation, Partizipation und Demokratie in Occupy Wall Street.” In Die Versprechen der Demokratie, edited by Hubertus Buchstein, 249–67. Baden-Baden: Nomos.