23 February 2010

Book: Debating Arab Authoritarianism: Dynamics and Durability in Nondemocratic Regimes

The contributed volume "Debating Arab Authoritarianism: Dynamics and Durability in Nondemocratic Regimes" was edited by Oliver Schlumberger (Stanford University Press, 2007):


Publisher's description: "This volume inquires into the working mechanisms, the inner logic, and the durability of authoritarian rule in Arab countries. Written by leading American, European, and Arab experts, the collected essays explore the ongoing political dynamics of the region and show how Arab regimes retain power despite ongoing transformations on regional, national, and international levels and in societal, political, and economic spheres. The findings of this book strongly suggest that democratization remains off the agenda in any Arab country for the foreseeable future. Domestic political protests, international pressure toward more liberal governance, and 'reform-oriented' regimes notwithstanding, Debating Arab Authoritarianism indicates that while the impetus for political change is strong, it is in the direction of an adaptation to changed circumstances and may even be a revitalization or consolidation of authoritarian rule rather than a systemic transition to democracy."

Reviews: "In contrast to the democratic deficit literature that purports to explain the absence of democracy in the Middle East, this superb collection of essays provides a theoretically sophisticated account of the origins and nature of authoritarian persistence and durability. The contributors bring a variety of theoretical and empirical perspectives, and their endeavours are animated by a common research agenda that gives analytical coherence to this illuminating volume." (Daniel Brumberg, Georgetown University)

"The analysis of Arab authoritarianism offered in this volume is truly excellent, with all contributors shedding light on the workings of Arab regimes and treating them as 'stable' political systems rather than transitional ones. The book is a must-read for all those interested in political authoritarianism, the Middle East, and international relations." ("Politics and Religion")

The book is fully searchable on Google Book Search (including table of contents):


Oliver Schlumberger is now Professor of Middle Eastern Politics at the University of Tübingen, Germany.

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