A typology of the diverse ways in which international dimensions of democratization and democracy assistance itself actually retard and undermine democracy’s progress around the world provides a salutary response to currently fashionable ideas of democracy promotion as a world value. The detailed typology presented here offers an aid to thinking and practice concerning what approaches to take to the international promotion of democracy in the future. But as is the case with the already well established idea of ‘democratization backwards’, so it is equally true when looking forward that ‘promoting democracy backwards’ implies no one determinate eventual outcome. The analysis implicitly raises the question whether the time has now come not just for the practice of democracy promotion to widen its lens but for studies of it to broaden their horizons too
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