German Research Network "External Democracy Promotion"


Leibniz Funding for the Research Network External Democracy Promotion

The German Research Network ‘External Democracy Promotion’ (EDP) is funded by the Leibniz Association under the Leibniz Competition (formerly SAW Procedure) for the duration of three years (2015-2018). The Leibniz Association has awarded this project 578.280€. The new research agenda focuses on the matter of interaction in democracy promotion.

The EDP network is a collaborative project of six partner institutions: the two Leibniz institutes Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, the German Development Institute (DIE), as well as three universities (Erfurt, Konstanz, Lüneburg). Network members at these institutes are Johannes Gerschewski, Sonja Grimm, Julia Leininger, Solveig Richter, and Vera van Hüllen. Tina Freyburg at the University of St. Gallen is an associated member.

The German Research Network ‘External Democracy Promotion’ (EDP) brings together political science scholars from Germany working at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics. The joint interest is in the range of cross-border activities by states, non-state actors and international organizations aimed at establishing, improving or defending democracy in third countries.

With regard to the study of democracy promotion, the EDP network will focus specifically on the dynamics of interaction that unfold when external democracy promoters meet with the ‘recipients’ or ‘targets’ they try to influence. Existing research largely analyzes democracy promotion as a one-way-street relationship in which external actors do something that, then, has effects on recipient countries. The network, in contrast, is interested in studying what precisely happens when democracy promoters engage with counterparts – governments, political parties, civil-society groups, etc. – that themselves have meaningful agency.

The research network deals with the following questions: How do local actors respond to democracy promoters; do they adopt or resist externally promoted democratic norms; how is external aid appropriated or diverted? How do the very democracy promoters, on their part, react when their policies are challenged and/or transformed ‘on the ground’? Which dynamics of interaction emerge, and what are the consequences for both the state of democracy in recipient countries and the shape of external democracy promotion? In theorizing and empirically studying these interaction processes, the network is making important contributions for both research and practice of democracy promotion.

The network builds and expands upon an already existing structure – the “Discussion Forum External Democratization Policy”. Coordination of the network is based at PRIF.

  • Department of Politics and Public Administration
Funding sources
Name Finanzierungstyp Kategorie Project no.
Sonstige third-party funds research funding program 571/15
Further information
Period: 01.05.2015 – 30.04.2018