Similar and Yet So Different: The Socialization of Democratic Norms in Post-War Germany and Present Day Iraq

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The article investigates the claim made by the Bush Administration that the successful democracy promotion in post-war Germany indicates that a similar exercise can be undertaken in present day Iraq with a positive outcome. By conceptualizing both democratization processes as identity constructions, where a democratic norm set is transferred through state socialization, it is argued that although compelling similarities exist between the two cases, important differences are also at work, which indicate less beneficial conditions for democracy in Iraq than in post-war Germany. The article utilizes a social constructivist framework, which indicates that the main determining factor for successful socialization is positive self- and other categorization processes between socializer and socialize. Unfortunately events in Iraq such as Abu Gharaib and the appalling security situation may well have a negative effect on these self- and other categorization processes between Americans and Iraqis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Politics
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)596-619
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

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