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Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Arab World, Vol. 2: Comparative Experiences

Bahgat Korany, Rex Brynen, and Paul Noble
ISBN: 978-1-55587-599-2
1998/302 pages/LC: 95-17941

"This is a book that should be studied by scholars and assigned to all students of Middle East politics."—Donna Robinson Divine, Digest of Middle East Studies

"Provides a comprehensive survey of forces working toward and against democratization in the Middle East, and makes a major contribution to constructing theories about transitions to democracy."—Tansa George Massoud


Drawing on the theoretical insights offered in its companion volume, this book examines the processes of and prospects for political reform in 10 Arab countries—Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—selected to demonstrate a broad range of contexts, trajectories, and political potentials.

The authors have gone beyond the traditional case-study approach to create a cohesive, comparative collection organized around a common analytical framework. Among the specific questions explored in each chapter are; How do governments and the various groups in civil society define their brands of democracy, and what is the degree of convergence or divergence? What are the reasons behind the present democratization process? How reversible or credible is that process? What is the chemistry of government-civil society interaction?


Bahgat Korany is professor of political science at the Université de Montréal, and director of the Inter-University Consortium for Arab Studies. His books include How Foreign Policy Decisions Are Made in the Third World and (with M. Flory et al.) Régimes politiques arabes. Rex Brynen is associate professor of political science at McGill University. He is the author of Sanctuary and Survival: The PLO in Lebanon. Paul Noble is associate professor of political science and chair of the Middle East studies program at McGill University, as well as the author of numerous articles on Arab politics.


  • Introduction: Arab Liberalization and Democratization: The Dialectics of the General and the Specific—the Editors.
  • Explosive Civil Society and Democratization from Below: Algeria—B. Korany and S. Amrani.
  • Restricted Democratization from Above: Egypt—B. Korany.
  • The Politics of Monarchical Liberalism: Jordan—R. Brynen.
  • The Pro-Democratic Agenda in Kuwait: Structures and Context—J. Crystal and A. Al-Shayeji.
  • Democracy (Again) Derailed: Lebanon's Ta'if Paradox—J. P. Harik.
  • Monarchical Islam with a Democratic Veneer: Morocco—B. Korany.
  • From Occupation to Uncertainty: Palestine—R. Brynen.
  • Democratization in a Fragmented Society: Sudan—A. M. Lesch.
  • Calculated Decompression in a Substitute for Democratization: Syria—R. A. Hinnebusch.
  • Pluralism, Polarization, and Popular Politics in Yemen—S. Carapico.
  • Conclusion: Liberalization, Democratization and Arab Experiences—the Editors.