Routledge Handbook of the Arab Spring : Rethinking Democratization
What is the nature of the symbiosis of the ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘democratisation’? How does democratisation lend support to the ‘Arab Spring’? In turn, how does the ‘Arab Spring’ lend sparkle to ‘democratisation’? What are the wider reverberations of this political ‘tsunami’ within and without the Middle East? How do they inform the ‘story’ of democracy and democratisation?
This book seeks to answer these questions, both theoretically and empirically. Theoretically, leading students of democratisation and the Middle East address this symbiosis, critically assessing the ‘status’ of the democratisation paradigm with special reference to the ‘Arab Spring’ or the ‘Arab revolution’. Their theoretical inputs form the book’s opening section. A logical sequel to this section is a section with three chapters on the standing of of Islam and Islamism in reference to rebellion, democracy and democratisation. Empirically, a country by country critical analysis by specialists looks at the correlation of the ‘Arab Spring’ and ‘democratisation’ from below, putting forth theoretical positions drawn on profound investigation opened by two sections each with four chapters on Egypt and Tunisia. These two sections are followed by sections on the arch of uprisings in the Arab region, namely, Algeria, Bahrain, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Syria, and Yemen. How has the ‘Arab Spring’ impacted on countries such as Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia? After this section on the Gulf states, the analysis turn to the wider neighbourhood: Iran, Israel, and Turkey. These are countries with their own traditions and practices of politics, democratic or pseudo-democratic. Investigating the angle from without cannot be closed without understanding the impact of the ‘Arab Spring’ on actors further afield such as the US and in the Mediterranean neighbourhood, the EU. To close the circle of this preliminary investigation of the ‘Arab Spring’ and democratisation, a final section considers the role of the new media and Al-Jazeera. Has facebook really heralded the ‘Arab Spring’?