Chapter

Expecting the Unexpected: Cultural Components of Arab Governance

in Varieties of Muslim Experience

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780226726168
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226726182 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226726182.003.0012
Expecting the Unexpected: Cultural Components of Arab Governance

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Discussions about governance in the Arab world often revolve around the prospects for democracy. Either it is assumed that an electoral model based on competing political parties must cast up leaders whose legitimacy stems from the process itself, or a middle class must develop whose eagerness to affect the distribution of power coincides with those enlightened self-interests and unseen market forces that conduce toward representative government. It is not that these models lack merit, but they tend to exist in a partial cultural vacuum. To understand the relation of democratic forms and contemporary Arab political life—bearing in mind always that a general reference to “Arabs” is in no way to deny the range of variation—it may, therefore, be useful to explore some aspects of Arab culture more broadly conceived and to consider how they interact with the forms of governance that have been developing.

Keywords: governance; Arab world; democracy; electoral model; political parties; power; government; political life; Arabs; Arab culture

Chapter.  7386 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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