© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2007 DOI: 10.1163/156914907X207720 PGDT 6 (2007) 189-213 www.brill.nl/pgdt Perspectives on Global Development and Technology P g d t Th e Middle East’s Democracy Deﬁcit in Comparative Perspective Mehran Kamrava Director of Center for International and Regional Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Qatar, and Professor of Political Science, California State University, Northridge Mehran.Kamrava@csun.edu Abstract Th e Middle East’s democracy deﬁcit is a product of the patterns of political and economic devel- opment in the region. It is not because the region is predominantly Islamic or is somehow aﬄicted by purportedly undemocratic cultures. By itself, culture is not an impediment to transi- tion to democracy as it is subject to inﬂuences from the larger polity, especially insofar as the economy and the initiatives of the state are concerned. Instead, transition to democracy is deter- mined by the degree of society’s autonomy from the state. Th is autonomy may result from the empowerment of society as a consequence of economic development, or the state elite’s devolu- tion of power to social actors and classes, or, more commonly, a combination of both. Assump- tions about the inherently undemocratic nature of cultures such as Islamic and
Perspectives on Global Development and Technology – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2007
Keywords: MIDDLE EAST; CIVILIZATIONS; STATE; DEMOCRACY; CULTURE; AUTHORITARIANISM; DEVELOPMENT; CIVIL SOCIETY
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