Guilhot, Nicolas 1970–

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Guilhot, Nicolas 1970–

PERSONAL:

Born October 16, 1970. Education: European University Institute, Florence, Ph.D., 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Office—London School of Economics, Department of Sociology, Houghton St., London WC2A 2AE, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, researcher, sociologist, educator, and administrator. London School of Economics, London, England, lecturer in sociology; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique—Centre de Sociologie Européenne, director of research. Social Science Research Council, New York, NY, research fellow, 2007—.

WRITINGS:

Financiers, Philanthropes: Vocations Éthiques et Reproduction du Capital à Wall Street depuis 1970, Raisons d'agir (Paris, France), 2004, 2nd revised edition published as Financiers, Philanthropes: Sociologie de Wall Street, 2006.

The Democracy Makers: Human Rights and International Order, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer, educator, and sociologist Nicolas Guilhot is a prominent French researcher on human rights and the promotion of democracy in the United States and throughout the world. A fluent speaker of French, Italian, and Bulgarian, Guilhot has conducted research on human rights and world politics; on the political influence of philanthropic foundations and associated international affairs and education programs, both before and after the Cold War; and on the history of international relations theory, noted a biographer on the London School of Economics Web site. In addition, Guilhot has studied the effects of the Open Society Network, founded by billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros, and the organization's influence on foundations and other charitable groups.

Guilhot has been a faculty member of the London School of Economics, where he served as a lecturer in sociology. In 2007, he became a research fellow at the Social Science Research Council in New York City, a nonprofit organization that studies the application of social science to important social issues around the world. Here, Guilhot continues his research on international relations theory and explores "the role of philanthropy in the development of the social sciences," commented a biographer on the Social Science Research Council Web site. Guilhot is also director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique—Centre de Sociologie Européenne in Paris, France.

In The Democracy Makers: Human Rights and International Order, Guilhot "offers an impressive scholarly investigation of the tangled web of relationships emerging from the use of democratization theory to rationalize the pursuit of U.S. national interests abroad," commented Suzanne Ogden in the Political Science Quarterly. At the core of the book, Guilhot looks at the many academic theories that form the foundation of much U.S. foreign policy, and how the production of those theories indicates a collaboration between educational institutions and the government. He "focuses on the growth of the competitive and profitable niche market around globalizing democracy," Ogden noted. Based on this study, Guilhot offers a "passive-aggressive attack on what he dubs the democracy ‘industry’—an interlocking network of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private firms that have turned democracy into ‘a commodity that can be exported,’" observed Reihan Salam in the New Leader.

Guilhot points out that U.S. foreign policy development is attended by widespread and important contributions from representatives of government, academic, and private sources. These sources have long been concerned with issues of democratization, human rights, and issues of freedom, and are intricately involved in policy decisions that utilize their expertise and experience. However, he also cautions that some may see that the close relationship between the government and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) is often couched in terms of funding. It may appear as though reliance on government funding places scholars and nongovernmental groups in a position that requires them to generate theories that "clothe U.S. foreign policy in the latest ethical fashion," Ogden noted. Ogden suggests that the close ties and potential feeling of reciprocity established by the funding relationship between these groups indicate that many NGOs should not be able to accurately call themselves nongovernmental organizations. Ogden pointed out that many NGOs involved with establishing and exporting democracy have, in fact, been wholly established by the government.

As part of his study, Guilhot looks at the changes and shifts in American democracy policy and U.S. policy. When any one theory failed to effect the creation of democracy as planned, Washington-based interests then looked to NGOs for a complete rethinking of the ineffective theories and plans. He also commends the U.S. government for its dedication to the creation and application of expertise in democratization. The author also provides information on the background and structure of a number of NGOs that support and promote democracy, and carefully considers how some of them evolved from earnest volunteer-powered grassroots organizations to professionally managed and sophisticated groups with strong governmental ties.

Ogden concluded that The Democracy Makers is an "important book" that "should form the centerpiece in the discussion about America's efforts to export democracy."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Choice, October, 2005, C.E. Welch, review of The Democracy Makers: Human Rights and International Order, p. 366.

International Affairs, March, 2006, Chandra Lekha Sriram, review of The Democracy Makers, p. 373.

International Journal, autumn, 2006, Shreesh Juyal, review of The Democracy Makers, p. 1002.

New Leader, May 1, 2005, Reihan Salam, "Wrong about Rights," review of The Democracy Makers, p. 31.

Political Science Quarterly, spring, 2006, Suzanne Ogden, review of The Democracy Makers, p. 187.

ONLINE

London School of Economics Web site,http://www.lse.ac.uk/ (April 10, 2008), author profile.

Social Science Research Council Web site,http://www.ssrc.org/ (July 25, 2007), author profile.

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