›  Multilevel governance, promotion of democracy through International Organizations and stages of democratization: a literature debate

Multilevel governance, promotion of democracy through International Organizations and stages of democratization: a literature debate

  • Ferraz Oliveira, João Paulo UFMG, (Brésil – UCL)



The issues of democracy has been associated with national governments, whose analysis of policies dynamics focused on domestic regimes. The expansion of democratic ideas and the events of the democratizing waves from 1970´s produced an academic awaken, which led to the perception that democratic promotion were not confined to national states, but, international forces interfered on motivations in different regions of the world. Among these forces, the international organizations have become an important factor in diffusion of democracy due to its multilateral platform, institutional mechanisms and exercise of power in different levels. Associated with these transformative events, the transition from a state-centric governing relations to a more complex relations between other groups of actors exercising power in different levels and centers of power guided the academic discussion to the concept of governance and its different adjectives (democratic, regional, global and multilevel). This article exposes the dialogue among the ideas of promotion of democracy, the role of international organizations and the specific concept of multilevel governance (MLG). Assuming the initial concept of the multilevel governance (MLG) concept of Hooghes and Marks and the recent state of art about this concept, this article, initially, presents how the academic literature establishes the relation between the democratization stages and the role of international organizations, recognizing how the IOs´ institutional mechanisms interferes in those stages. Second, it connects this initial relation with the concept of multilevel governance. The main argument is that in stages of transitions and breakdowns of democracy, the concept of multilevel governance has difficulties to fit its characteristics in comparison with the consolidation of democracy stages. This occur because the academic mainstream deals with the two extremist situation of democracy by the analytical lens of an elitist and centralized state perspective. In an opposite direction when refers to consolidation of democracy, which main argument requires a substantive activity of civil society, institutions and political elites in order to construct a plural and inclusive procedure of participation. This article use secondary data and specialized literature to achieve its main objectives proposed.

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Key words: democracy promotion, multilevel governance, stages of democratization, international organization.