Intersections: Practicing Pluralism

Democracy Promotion and Pluralism

Publication Date: November 2018

How can attention to pluralism complement existing democracy promotion practices? Usually, democracy promoters are concerned first and foremost with establishing stability in democratic institutions. As a result, forms of diversity that could translate into political mobilization (such as ethnic or religious identities) are often discouraged. Unfortunately, building stable institutions does not guarantee that governance practices will overcome societal division, and governments can very easily slide back into authoritarianism in order to maintain control. Incorporating pluralism into democracy promotion goes beyond building effective institutions and requires building democratic societies. New inclusionary cultural narratives, norms and attitudes are crucial to long-term stability in new democracies.

Gerd Schönwälder

Gerd Schönwälder works on the socio-economic, -political and  -cultural aspects of the clean-energy transition for the European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation (RTD). Previously, he was an invited researcher at the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) and the German Development Institute (DIE), after holding senior positions at the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Gerd has a background in peacebuilding, conflict prevention and democracy support, as well as policy coordination and strategy development. He earned a PhD in Political Science from McGill University.