The Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Iraq:What do Other Cases Tell Us?

Initial Call for Papers
A multidisciplinary conference in applied social science and history 6-7 January 2006 at Kingston University, London, UK
Kingston University’s Helen Bamber Centre, the Labour Friends of Iraq and the UK Iraqi Community Association
This conference in London aims to marry theory, history, and practice in the service of contributing to the consolidation of democracy in Iraq.
It is intended to produce practical conclusions and recommendations that might help build the capacity for consolidation in Iraq, including by enabling the Iraqi diaspora community to contribute to the democratization process. The conference proposes to do this not by extending purely academic debates about the causes of democratisation and democratic consolidation but instead as an exercise in applied social science theory and history. It is based on the assumption that valuable contributions to this post-war goal can be made by scholars, researchers, and practitioners regardless of their original views on the
invasion of Iraq.
Of particular interest are the findings of social scientists and historians who have done research on cases of democracies emerging from the destruction and dislocation associated with repression or war or both. Emphasis is placed on the ability to wring practical and applicable insights from central debates in the literature on democratic consolidation which variously emphasize the causal importance of cultural characteristics, strategic choice, economic performance,
institutional design, and other factors.
The conference will include both overview plenary sessions and a series of panel sessions exploring issues such as:
Human Rights
Institutional Design
Freedom of Expression
This is a preliminary list of topics; we welcome suggestions for additional panels and volunteers for panel organisers. In all cases, scholarly debates need to be contextualised and presented in such a way that practitioners and on-the-ground participants in events in Iraq can make use of them. Our aim is to help Iraqi democrats debate the relative merits of the arguments presented and move from theory to practice, from abstraction to a more predictable future for their children.
If you are interested in making a contribution then please send a 500 word abstract which either (1) summarizes your work on democratic consolidation and describes what lessons it might hold for the Iraqi case, or (2) suggests a theme for a panel and indicates people you would wish to invite.
Professor Brian Brivati, Kingston University, UK
Professor Gerard Alexander, University of Virginia, USA
Responses should be sent by 30 September to