The Search for Arab Democracy: Discourses and Counter-Discourses / Edition 1

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How to be a "democrat" and a "Muslim" at the same time is the subject of ongoing contests. This book maps out the variety of voices contesting "Islam" and "democracy" in the Arab world, insisting that neither category can be taken as unitary or fixed.

In the Arab Middle East, the contest is over "which", "whose", and "how much" democracy takes place within an existing contest over "which", "whose", and "how much" Islam must be given pre-eminence in the political and cultural sphere. There is a "Democracy" and there are "democracies." There is an "Islam" and there are "islams."

Larbi Sadiki deploys the conceptual tools of contemporary Western political philosophy and theory to articulate and defend some provocative theses. The book challenges Eurocentric conceptions of democracy that all-too-frequently display a lack of concern for specificity and context; analyzes and interrogates Orientalist and Occidentalist discourses on democracy; and considers some of the justifications for democracy in the global arena, giving space for self-representation by women and Islamists, among others. Using interviews with Muslims from every social and economic stratum, the book shows how Arabs themselves understand, imagine, and view democracy.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
International Affairs - John A. S. Abecasis-Phillips
Sadiki provides the reader with an invaluable work of reference for those seeking to understand Arab thought concerning democracy and reservations about accepting the western brand.
Jerusalem Post - Bezalel Stern
[A] perceptive account of the status of and the varied possibilities of Arab democracy.
International Affairs
Sadiki provides the reader with an invaluable work of reference for those seeking to understand Arab thought concerning democracy and reservations about accepting the western brand.

— John A. S. Abecasis-Phillips

Jerusalem Post
[A] perceptive account of the status of and the varied possibilities of Arab democracy.

— Bezalel Stern

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231125819
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 2/25/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 457
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Larbi Sadiki is lecturer in Middle East politics at the University of Exeter, England.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

1. Contesting Democracy: Discourses and Counter-discourses2. Defoundationalizing Democracy and the Arabo-Islamic Setting3. Democracy as an Occidentalist Discourse4. Democracy as an Orientalist Discourse5. Contemporary Arab Conceptions of Democracy6. Arab Women and Democracy: Breaking Out7. The West and the Sponsoring of Arab Authoritarianisms: Islamist Narratives8. Discoursing Islam and Democracy

Columbia University Press

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