Dr Kai Koddenbrock

Alumni Postdoc Fellow

Research Project at the Centre

A Democratic Ethos of Intervention? Attitudes Towards Political Struggle in Western Humanitarianism and Peacebuilding

If one accepts that democracy is a 'process of exploration and experimentation' (Rosanvallon) democracy requires an appreciation of opposition and political conflict. My project investigates the nature of the democratic ethos among intervention and individual interveners. Intervention is not democratic because it is practiced by democracies or because it aims to install democracy in the intervened country. Instead, building on an understanding of democracy as process, the ethos animating intervention from inside has to be considered if intervention is to be called ‘democratic’. How individual humanitarians, development workers or peacebuilders reflect on political conflict with 'partners' and 'beneficiaries' will be used as an indicator of the way this democratic ethos is fostered among intervention actors or not.


September 2013 – August 2014