Dr Leonie Holthaus - Darmstadt University/POLSIS Visiting Fellow

Widely used historiographical accounts ascribe different raison d'être to International Relations and political or democratic theory. As a result, democracy is bound up with the state while the domestic analogy implies that international progress can at its best follow the lines of earlier domestic developments. Yet, exploring the domestic analogy’s neglected relative, the international analogy, prompts one to question presumed disciplinary divides and the necessarily domestic history of democratic ideas. Classical scholars have not only compared states to individuals, but also individuals to states to advance individual rights. Furthermore, international thinkers described domestic society in terms of balances of power and international civil servants borrowed from early experiences in international organisation to suggest democratic reforms in developed and undeveloped states. This paper thus seeks to distinguish between different types of international analogies in order to suggest that some democratic ideas may have an international history.

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