Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World

Arab Studies Quarterly, Fall 2014 | Go to article overview

Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World


Larry Diamond and Marc F. Plattner. Editors. Democratization and Authoritarianism in the Arab World. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014. 388 pages. Paper $34.95

The 29 articles of this volume appeared originally in the Journal of Democracy after July 2011. They were written as the events of the Arab Uprisings were taking place and shed the light on how scholars viewed certain events as they were actually taking place. In addition to highlighting the question of democracy, some of the chapters can actually be seen, somewhat, as a historical account of the uprisings.

The first part of the volume, the "Thematic Essays" section, consists of 16 articles that deal with various themes ranging from political Islam, military, democracy theory, culture, media, global context, and electoral systems. The focus of this section is regional in scope and attempts to analyze what has been transpiring in the Arab world. While some chapters address the similarities across the Arab countries (e.g., the phenomenon of political Islam), others address the "differences among Arab states and seek causes and patterns that will help to explain why events have unfolded so differently in various countries" (xiv).

The second part of the volume, the "Country Studies," consists of twelve case studies that cover Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. …

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