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ECPR Futures Lab 2020

‘Doing Elections’ to Manage the World

International Relations
Eva Johais
Universität Bremen
Eva Johais
Universität Bremen

Elections are a prominent tool of international organizations’ policies to foster democracy, development and peace. This means that they are part of the everyday work of the UN, AU, EU, ECOWAS, OECD and others as well as agencies and experts specializing in elections. However, there are different ways of ‘doing elections’. This paper explores the bureaucratic- engineering way which is characterized by the logic of following rules. Rules refer to administrative and legal rules – standard operating procedures, policies, mandates, chartas, laws – as well as scientific rules that materialize in best practices, concepts, methodologies, guidebooks, academic publications. Elections are not an uncontroversial default option in global politics, but their popularity results from the diverse meanings of ‘doing elections’. Yet, they fit the bureaucratic-engineering logic best - to manage the world.
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