Al Jazeera and Democratization analyses the increasing role of the media in political transformations with a special emphasis on the Arab world. Taking the Al Jazeera media network as a case study, the author explains how engaging the public and providing platforms for open debate and free expression contributed to the emergence of a new vibrant Arab public sphere.
The launch of Al Jazeera in 1996 was a significant event that led to subsequent changes both in Arab media and politics. Among these changes, the Arab spring is certainly the most remarkable. This unprecedented phenomenon has already resulted in political change in a number of countries and is expected to generate a democratizing wave and reshape the face of the region. The Arab spring provides us with a telling empirical example where the interplay between media and politics is manifest. The public sphere that has emerged out of this newly communicative environment has undoubtedly played its role in the current political transformations. In this context, Arab democratization is no longer an abstract, it is rather a developing process that needs our attention and requires concerted scholarly efforts.
Highly topical, this book provides a fresh theoretical perspective on Arab democratization in light of the Arab Spring, and is essential reading for researchers and students of Middle East Politics, Media Studies and Democratization.
Introduction 1 Methodology 2 A Critical Assessment of the Existing Literature 3 Democratization: The Frameworks, the Narratives and the Arab Dilemma 4 Beyond the Systemic Approach: Al Jazeera Reshapes the Media-Politics Relationship 5 The Arab Public Sphere in the Context of the Current Debate 6 The New Public Sphere in the Process of Arab Democratization 7 Liberating the Media as a Precondition for Democracy 8 Televising the Arab Spring: Real-time Democratization? Conclusion
This series examines new ways of understanding democratization and government in the Middle East. The varied and uneven processes of change, occurring in the Middle Eastern region, can no longer be read and interpreted solely through the prism of Euro-American transitology. Seeking to frame critical parameters in light of these new horizons, this series instigates reinterpretations of democracy and propagates formerly ‘subaltern,’ narratives of democratization. Reinvigorating discussion on how Arab and Middle Eastern peoples and societies seek good government, Routledge Studies in Middle Eastern Democratization and Government provides tests and contests of old and new assumptions.