This book provides a critical, conceptual-historical analysis of democracy at the United Nations, detailed in four ‘visions’ of democracy: civilization, elections, governance and developmental democracy. ‘I know it when I see it’ were the famous words of US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on defining obscenity. It is with the same conviction and (un)certainty that liberal peacebuilders and democracy promoters have used democracy to achieve both the immediate goals of peacekeeping and the broader, global mission of the UN. Today, democracy may have gained an international dimension, yet its success as an organizational practice depends on how it has been defined. Drawing on political theory and democratization scholarship, the book questions the meaning of this well-‘known’ idea. It analyses the way in which the UN, through its Secretary-General, relevant agencies and organizational practices, have thought about, conceptualized and used democracy. The book shows that while the idea of democracy's ‘civilizing’ nature has played a prominent part in its use by the UN, an early focus on sovereignty and self-determination delayed the emergence of the democracy agenda until the 1990s. Today, a comprehensive democracy agenda incorporates not only elections but a broad range of liberal-democratic institutions. Despite this, the agenda is at an impasse, both practically and philosophically. The book questions whether an extension of the UN democracy agenda to include ‘developmental democracy’ is feasible.
On 30 May 2016 the International Law Commission adopted a set of sixteen Conclusions aimed at explaining how a customary rule is formed and how it is possible to identify either an emerging or a fully formed rule of customary law. However, being the process of custom creation entirely informal and unstructured, the International Law Commission Conclusions do not, and cannot, represent an objective method for ascertaining customary rules. They thus fail to provide authoritative guidance to practitioners in the field of international organizations’ practice
groups is a representation test: democratic enfranchisement of group affiliates which ensures accountability and authorization between a group’s leaders and members. Evidence is usually of an organizational nature; specifically, whether active internal democracies exist and whether individuals are affiliated in such a way as to allow them control over group agendas (that is, affiliated as members rather than supporters).
As exemplified above, the absence of such organizationalpractices is interpreted as democratic deficiency. But is this
is the practice of the State being governed or the practice of the international organization. Significantly, usually the practice is cited as being that of the organization, not the organization as proxy for the governed State or territory. For example, as mentioned above, the practice of UNMIK is indexed as organizationpractice by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 78 and both the International Court of Justice 79 and European Court of Human Rights 80 consider the practice of UNMIK as organizationpractice, at least for purposes of attribution
encouraged politicians to pass the letter on to another person, possibly of higher status, in the council.
Follow-up research for this project found that local councillors felt overwhelmed by irrelevant paperwork and demands, and unable to influence their own bureaucracies in order to create change (Richardson 2013 ). Other research in northern Europe has also found that it may be hard to change the way local councillors see their roles, because of established attitudes, existing organizationalpractices, and prevailing cultures in local government institutions
Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge
University, 2002 ), points to the primacy of
distinctive conditions at the time of political transition that
shaped the parties’ subsequent actions, arguing, p. 27, that
‘as the critical formative moments, the initial takeovers had
the greatest influence on the choice of these organizationalpractices and hence on subsequent elite political
entails ‘a knowledge-based process of questioning and changing organizational rules to change organizationalpractice’. In the context of peacekeeping then, because rules are prior to practice, changes in peacekeeping practice can come about only because of a change in organisational rules, which regulate and constitute the social world within the UN (Benner et al. 2011 : 54). The authors note that temporary changes in practice can occur without changes in rules, but stress that learning – that is the institutionalisation of change – occurs only when rules are
Juggling mobilization and influence: the ‘membership tightrope’
It is generally accepted that, by definition, groups engage in two general tasks: mobilization and influence. 1 Most accept this, but study them separately. But implicit within the literature is the notion that leaders constantly juggle these imperatives and that this helps shape organizationalpractices. This juggling act seems salient to the way democratic practices evolve within groups.
Definitionally, groups are
’s Statistique de l’Industrie à Paris ’, in S. Kaplan and C. Koeppl (eds) , Work in France: Representations, Meaning, Organization, Practice ( Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press ), 335–363 .
Seigel , J.E. ( 1987 ) Bohemian Paris: Culture, Politics, and the Boundaries of Bourgeois Life, 1830–1930 ( New York : Penguin ).
Seine , Préfecture, service de la Statistique Municipale ( 1887 ) Résultats Statistiques du Dénombrement de 1886 pour la Ville de Paris et le Département de la Seine, et Renseignements relatifs aux Dénombrements Antérieurs ( Paris
, whether active internal democracies exist. The absence of such organizationalpractices is interpreted as a democratic deficiency. But is this approach relevant to all groups, and, if not, to which groups should it apply? Moreover, what other forms of legitimacy are relevant? What are we to do in the case that groups are unable (rather than unwilling) to operationalize forms of accountability and authorization that are demanded under the representation test? These questions do not often emerge when examining the ‘orthodox’ fodder of traditional group studies – trade