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Rethinking Arab DemocratizationElections without Democracy$
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Larbi Sadiki

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199562985

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199562985.001.0001

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Rethinking Democratization in the Arab Context

Rethinking Democratization in the Arab Context

(p.7) 1 Rethinking Democratization in the Arab Context
Rethinking Arab Democratization

Larbi Sadiki (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Stressing an interpretive method, this chapter seeks to rethink democratization in the context of the Arab Middle East. It highlights the fierce contests and counter-contests of Western democratization theory. Its interrogation of the ‘transition paradigm’ and ‘third wave’ democratization is based on reference to the key voices in the field. Against this background the chapter looks at the complexity involved in transposing the conventional wisdom and dogmas of such a theory to the Arab context. Interrogation is doubly fierce when ‘word’ (theory) meets ‘world’ (context, practice). A key conclusion is that it is difficult to ‘normativize’ Western democratization theory, suggesting alternative and critical ways of how to treat Western transitology in its ‘travel’ to the Arab context, and noting the ‘open-endedness’ and ‘complexity’ of Arab transitions.

Keywords:   Arab transitology, foundationalist ontology, third-wave theory, transitology, contested democratization, Arabo-Islamic civil society, normativize

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