Interpreting the organizational practices of North American democracy assistance
This research examines the work of international experts who promote and support democratization projects funded by Western governments and nongovernmental organizations. Based on interviews and participant observation research with professionals working in democracy assistance organizations, this study investigates the "back stage" practices that shape democratization projects in organizational head offices. Drawing on the recent scholarship on international practices and the culture of organizations, this article examines the ways democracy assistance organizations carve a particular niche within the broader field of international development aid by structuring their projects according to a practical theory of democratization. The article fits in the recent critical tradition that examines the practices of international aid organizations and poses questions about the type of democracy that North American aid organizations are promoting.