Rethinking Arab Democratization: Elections without Democracy

Overview

Rethinking Arab Democratization unpacks and historicizes the rise of Arab electoralism, narrating the story of stalled democratic transition in the Arab Middle East. It provides a balance sheet of the state of Arab democratization from the mid-1970s up to 2008. In seeking to answer the question of how Arab countries democratize and whether they are democratizing at all, the book pays attention to specificity, highlighting the peculiarities of democratic transitions in the Arab Middle East. To this end, it ...

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Rethinking Arab Democratization: Elections Without Democracy

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Overview

Rethinking Arab Democratization unpacks and historicizes the rise of Arab electoralism, narrating the story of stalled democratic transition in the Arab Middle East. It provides a balance sheet of the state of Arab democratization from the mid-1970s up to 2008. In seeking to answer the question of how Arab countries democratize and whether they are democratizing at all, the book pays attention to specificity, highlighting the peculiarities of democratic transitions in the Arab Middle East. To this end, it situates the discussion of such transitions firmly within their local contexts, but without losing sight of the global picture, namely, the US drive to control and democratize' the Arab World. Rethinking Arab Democratization rejects exceptionalism', foundationalism', and Orientalism', by showing that the Arab World is not immured from the global trend towards political liberalization. But by identifying new trends in Arab democratic transitions, highlighting their peculiarities and drawing on Arab neglected discourses and voices, it pinpoints the contingency of some of the arguments underlying Western theories of democratic transition when applied to the Arab setting.

Oxford Studies in Democratization is a series for scholars and students of comparative politics and related disciplines. Volumes concentrate on the comparative study of the democratization process that accompanied the decline and termination of the cold war. The geographical focus of the series is primarily Latin America, the Caribbean, Southern and Eastern Europe, and relevant experiences in Africa and Asia. The series editor is Laurence Whitehead, Official Fellow, Nuffield College, Oxford University.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This impressive book offers a probing analysis of Arab electoralism as part of a penetrating larger critique of the applicability of Western democratic 'transitology' to the Arab world. Employing an effective blend of scholarly research and practical political insights, Sadiki presents a useful alternative lens that is true to local realities without sacrificing core democratic ideals."—Thomas Carothers, Vice President for Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

"This is an invaluable, empirically rich exploration of the pitfalls, detours and dead-ends on the variety of paths that may lead to democratization in the Arab world, or may not. If Larbi Sadiki reveals a residual optimism about the future, it is only after he has presented an exhaustive examination of the manoeuvres and barriers that Arab political elites deploy to sustain privilege and stifle freedom. Larbi Sadiki reveals an informed empathy for the dynamic non-elite social and political forces that seek greater freedom and greater justice. He is perceptive, thoughtful and persuasive, which is why his book will quickly be recognized as the indispensible and authoritative volume to read on the topic."—Augustus Richard Norton, Professor of International Relations and Anthropology, Boston University

"The author combines to great advantage a close and critical familiarity with the politics of the Arab Middle East and Islamic culture with equally close knowledge of the relevant Western democratization literature. The result is a remarkable book that greatly advances our knowledge of those countries and of their—surely convoluted but not inexistent—possible paths toward democracy. "—Guillermo O'Donnell, Professor Emeritus, University of Notre Dame

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199699247
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/13/2012
  • Series: Oxford Studies in Democratization Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Larbi Sadiki is Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter, where he is Director of the Middle East Politics Programme. He has published widely on the question of democratic transitions in the Arab Middle East. Sadiki has been researching two separate projects on Islamist notions of democracy, with special reference to Hamas and Hizbullah, titles of forthcoming works he is currently authoring. His first book on Arab democratization has been translated into Arabic and is widely used as the key reference on notions of Arab democracy.

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Table of Contents

Preface, Laurence Whitehead
Introduction
1. Rethinking Democratization in the Arab Context
2. Mapping out Arab Electoralism, 1998-2007
3. Elections without Democracy: The False Starts, 1975-1997
4. The Greater Middle East Initiative: A US Democracy Promotion 'Road Map'?
5. Catalysts from Below: Transition and 'Bread Riots'
6. Al-Jazeerah and the Internet as Sites of Democratic Struggle
7. Conclusions

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