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Politics Without Process: Administering Development in the Arab World

Jamil E. Jreisat
ISBN: 978-1-55587-333-2
1997/261 pages/LC: 96-39894

"Politics Without Process is a powerful account of the state of Arab affairs."—Mahmood Monshipouri, The Muslim World

"Jreisat's book ... it is of great benefit to those seeking an integrated understanding of development issues in the Middle East, and its comprehensiveness and clarity recommend it for use as a text."—M. Stephen Zitrin, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies

"Jreisat has produced a thoughtful and systematic critique of institutional systems and practices present throughout the Arab world as well as the factors contributing to failures in the area of development.... Jreisat's study is well researched, insightful, and objective."—Perspectives on Political Science

"Concise and provocative.... In highlighting the central roles of political leadership and public administration in national development, Politics Without Process provides a compelling contribution to the literature on the post-independence Arab mailaise."—Arab Studies Quarterly


A candid critique of the institutional systems and practices that define, and in many cases limit, the administrative state in the Arab world, this study centers on the factors contributing to the failure of development efforts.

Almost all Arab leaders, points out Jreisat, have promised bureaucratic reforms. However, their political-administrative structures have not succeeded in building the institutions necessary to meet societal needs. And neither have they cultivated a professional managerial class with skills, commitment, and ethics compatible with development objectives.

Addressing a cycle that seems to sustain and even reinforce institutional ineffectiveness in Arab governance, Jreisat offers a subtle understanding of the way context and culture affect state capacity. He calls for reform strategies that recognize the importance of leadership and institutional development in setting objectives and implementing them, in all sectors and according to concrete targets and codes of conduct.


The late Jamil E. Jreisat was professor of public administration and political science at the University of South Florida. His numerous publications include Managing Public Organizations: A Developmental Approach to Administrative Theory and Process, Public Financial Management and Budgeting, and Administration and Development in the Arab World: Annotated Bibliography.


  • Introduction.
  • Perspectives on National Development.
  • Ideological Setting of the Arab State.
  • Managing Development in the Troubled Arab State.
  • Building Administrative Capacity.
  • Egypt: An Exhausted System.
  • Jordan: Surviving Economic Scarcity.
  • A Comparative Analysis of Common Problems.
  • Political Islam and Matters of Governing.
  • A Strategic Resource: Oil.
  • Alternative Development Strategies.
  • Politics Without Process, Administration Without Discretion.