Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World

Article excerpt

Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World. Edited by Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. 388 pp. $34.95, paper.

This patched-together collection of twenty-nine previously published articles boasts a title suggesting the final word on the subject. It is not. Focusing exclusively on the opening stages of the Arab uprisings of roughly 2011-13, the editors have divided their work into two sections-sixteen thematic essays followed by thirteen country studies-seemingly for convenience sake alone as they offer no theoretical justification for this approach. The studies themselves are constructed haphazardly while the narrative is often outdated. Syria, for instance, where the bloodiest uprising shows no signs of ending, is covered in one meager essay; Iraq, Oman, and Lebanon merit none.

Why Johns Hopkins University would want to publish a work like this, filled with assertions that have been overturned by events, mystifies. …

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