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National democratization theory and global governance: Civil society and the liberalization of the Asian Development Bank

  • Anders Uhlin
Publiceringsår: 2011
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 847-871
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Democratization
Volym: 18
Nummer: 3
Dokumenttyp: Artikel
Förlag: Taylor & Francis


Contributing to a growing literature on democracy beyond the nation-state, this article draws on aspects of national democratization theory in order to analyse empirical processes of democracy. By combining insights from transition theory and the theory of political opportunity structures, the article examines the case of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). While the ADB for a long time has been described as a closed, unresponsive and unaccountable international organization, a recent evaluation praised the Bank for its good practices concerning transparency, participation and accountability. The article uses the analytical framework to highlight the interaction between hard-liners and soft-liners within the ADB and explores the role of different transnational civil society actors in the processes that seem to have strengthened the democratic credentials of the ADB. While finding significant divisions within the ADB as well as amongst civil society actors targeting the Bank, overall the article argues that transnational civil society actors, interacting with soft-liners within the ADB, have contributed to the implementation of reforms, which in turn create political opportunities for further civil society activism. The reform processes, however, are best described as processes of liberalization – rather than democratization.



  • Political Science
  • political opportunity structures
  • accountability
  • transition theory
  • transnational civil society
  • liberalization
  • democratization
  • international organizations
  • Asian Development Bank


  • Riksbankens Jubileumsfond
  • Demokrati bortom nationalstaten? Transnationella aktörer och globala styrformer
Author Posting. (c) Taylor & Francis, 2011. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Taylor & Francis for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Democratization, Volume 18 Issue 3, June 2011. doi:10.1080/13510347.2011.563121 (
  • ISSN: 1351-0347

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