A Critical Sociology of International Expertise: The Case of International Democracy Assistance

  • Michael Christensen


The quasi non-governmental organizations that make up the field of international democracy assistance can, in some cases, provide crucial logistical and financial support for social movement organizations working to build democratic institutions in the face of repressive or authoritarian governments. However, these professional organizations, overwhelmingly located in the global North, can also impose practices and organizational logics on their “local” partners that are onerous or even counterproductive. For grassroots organizations, the promise of international assistance often comes with an assemblage of assessment mechanisms tied to the funding cycles of donor organizations. This chapter examines how professionalized assessment mechanisms can distort or reorganize the time horizons of movement goals and draws on interviews with program coordinators working for professional democracy assistance organizations who themselves engage in a critique of these mechanisms.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Christensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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