Importing Democracy

Praise for Importing Democracy

"'Democratic practices can be imported, but not exported' is a major theme of Fisher's study of democratization in South Africa, Tajikistan, and Argentina. Fisher looks at democratization nonprofits who help to build the capacity of civil society. She conducted 103 field interviews of leaders in the three countries and presents the state of democratization in the context of each nation's history, culture, and current political structures. These studies provide in detail the messy, frustrating and sometimes exhilarating progress toward a strong civil society. the case studies are steeped in detail about how democracies are formed."

Virginia Hodgkinson,
Vice President for Research, Independent Sector (Retired)


"Through the combination of careful technical detail and brilliantly incisive commentary, Fisher convincingly demonstrates the link between the growth of civil society and democratization."

Justin O. Frosini, Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies and
Democratic Development, Bologna and Assistant Professor, Bocconi University, Milan


"Democratization has been a world wide phenomenon, yet it's theorization has largely been a western enterprise. This book is one of the few antidotes to this trend, not only because it focuses on three distinct developing world contexts – Argentina, South Africa and Tajikistan – but also through bringing alive in its reflections and theorization the activities and voices of local actors in civic life within these societies. Yet it does this without chauvinist retreat into a simple celebration of the local or the nation. Moreover, it fills an intellectual lacunae in the global literature by primarily investigating and explaining the role of democratization NGOs in the transition to democracy. Locally grounded but globally relelvant, nationally responsive yet cosmopolitan oriented, civic minded yet institutionally focused, unapologetically progressive yet intellectually eclectic, this is a must read for all those interested in democracies and their future in the modern world."

Adam Habib, Vice Chancellor, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


"By analyzing three countries on three different continents, Fisher convincingly demonstrates that civil society can have a determinant role in the success of democratization processses."

Justin O. Frosini, Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies and
Democratic Development, Bologna and Assistant Professor, Bocconi University, Milan


"Steeped in history, culture, and filled with detail about the efforts of local and national democratization NGOs in South Africa, Tajikistan, and Argentina, Fisher does a masterful job providing a rich tapestry tracing the evolution and political climates in which citizens build democratic practices. Such methods are messy, diverse, and subject to failure, but these democratization organizations are the connective tissue of growing civil societies."

Virginia Hodgkinson,
Vice President for Research, Independent Sector (Retired)


"From a specifically legal perspective Fisher's study shows how the strength of the South African legal system has allowed democratization NGOs to focus on issues such as criminal justice, human rights and reforms of tribal law while in Argentina, although the legal system is unpredictable and sometimes corrupt, it is still responsive to pressure from civil society. Fisher demonstrates that even in Tajikistan, despite its authoritarian regime, democratization NGOs have been able to challenge legal constraints on civil society, police brutality and abuses against women and children.

"Finally, it will be interesting to see the reaction to Fisher's Twelve Steps for Advancing Democracy."

Justin O. Frosini, Director of the Center for Constitutional Studies and
Democratic Development, Bologna and Assistant Professor, Bocconi University, Milan