Stories of Democracy: Politics and Society in Contemporary Kuwait

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A sophisticated investigation of the shifting tides of democratic governance in modern Kuwait from 1921 to the present based on interviews both with political activists and members of the political elite, Stories of Democracy sheds light on a wide array of issues concerning Middle Eastern politics and democratic institutions in general.

Mary Ann Tétreault explores how various political factions have sought to advance their own notions of Kuwaiti history and politics through distinctive popular appeals: (1) pro-democracy forces focusing on Kuwait's relationship to the universal values of the democratic world around them, and (2) anti-democrats proffering Arab and Muslim religious and cultural traditions. She explores how such dramatic events as the suspension of the Kuwaiti constitution in 1986 and the invasion by Iraq in 1990 occasioned major shifts in the course of the democracy movement. The current running through virtually all of the nation's political drama is the monolithic Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), used by the government as an instrument of economic strength to safeguard sovereignty in the absence of military might.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Middle East Studies Association Bulletin
Tetreault provides a fascinating and insightful analysis of political life and institutions in Kuwait.... has the quality of an academic thriller.
De Welt des Islams
Stories of democracy is a brilliantly performed study on the politics of democratization in Kuwait which successfully combines theoretical notions of democracy with empirical research.
Fred Lawson
This elegantly written book offers a comprehensive overview of the twists and turns of democratic governance in contemporary Kuwait. It is a signal contribution to the literature on Gulf politics.
Ellis Goldberg
Far and away the best and most detailed book on Kuwait or any other of the Gulf states produced so far in English. Tétreault´s vast and deep knowledge of Kuwaiti political elites and petroleum policy make her outstanding discussions with Kuwaiti political leaders fascinating.
Middle East Journal
Stories of Democracy is an outstanding book on the idiosyncrasies of Kuwaiti politics, unravelling how the process of modernization is -obviously not without its ambiguities -tipping the balance...[T]he author must be congratulated with a high-class publication, successfully combining theoretical notions -from different disciplines -and empirical research.
Middle East Studies Association Bulletin
Tetreault provides a fascinating and insightful analysis of political life and institutions in Kuwait . . . . has the quality of an academic thriller.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231114899
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/25/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.95 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Ann Tétreault is a professor of political science at Iowa State University in Ames.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsAbbreviations1. Introduction2. Citizens and States3. Stories of State and Society4. Democratic Structures and Practices, 1921-19905. Iraqi Occupation and Kuwaiti Democracy6. The Election of 19927. Back to the Future: The Return of Normal Politics8. Getting By with a Little Help from Our Friends9. Stories of DemocracyNotes Bibliography Index

Columbia University Press

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