Furthering Pluralism? The German Foundations in Transitional Tunisia

  • Leonie HolthausEmail author
Original Paper


This article examines the widely held assumption that Germany’s political foundations pursue distinctively partisan approaches that promise to be advantageous with regard to the furtherance of pluralist civil societies abroad. It reviews this assumption through a qualitative analysis of their partnerships in transitional Tunisia, following a comparison between the German foundations and other Western agencies. It exposes a common secular bias in Western civil society support and qualifies the assumption that the partisan approaches lead easily to pluralist civil society support. While the foundations partner with rather diverse organizations, they still favor organizations that follow Western lines, and their civil society support practices display interest in the furtherance of both pluralism and democratic stability promising corporatism.


Democracy assistance Civil society aid Political foundations Pluralism Germany Tunisia 



I wish to thank the editors, the two anonymous referees, and Jonas Wolff in particular for their instructive comments on this manuscript. Thanks also to Julius Dihstelhoff and Maike Melles for helpful discussions, and to Jana Braun for her editorial assistance. Financial support by the DFG Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders” is gratefully acknowledged. The usual disclaimers apply.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TU DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany

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