Popular uprisings and revolts across the Arab Middle East have often resulted in a democratic faragh or void in power. How society seeks to fill that void, regardless of whether the regime falls or survives, is the common trajectory followed by the seven empirical case studies published here for the first time. This edited volume seeks to unpack the state of the democratic void in three interrelated fields: democracy, legitimacy and social relations. In doing so, the conventional treatment of democratization as a linear, formal, systemic and systematic process is challenged and the power politics of democratic transition reassessed.
Through a close examination of case studies focusing on Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen, this collection introduces the reader to indigenous narratives on how power is wrested and negotiated from the bottom up. It will be of interest to those seeking a fresh perspective on democratization models as well as those seeking to understand the reshaping of the Arab Middle East in the lead-up to the Arab Spring.
Table of Contents
Preface 1. The Void of Power and the Power of the Void: Arab Societies’ Negotiation of Democratic Faragh Larbi Sadiki 2. Citizens of the Void Power-Sharing and Civic Political Action in Lebanon Heiko Wimmen 3. Trans-Sectarian Moral Protest against Occupation: A Case Study of Iraq Khalil Osman 4. The Fragmentation of Shaykh-Murid Relationships: Power Voids and Democratization of Religious Sufi Authority in Bahrain Muhammed al-Zekri and Britta Rudoff 5. Cyberspace and the Changing Face of Protest and Public Culture in Egypt Mona Abaza 6. An Egypt of its People Allia Mosallam 7. Void versus Presence: The In-between-ness of State and Society in Yemen Ahmed Abdelkareem Saif 8. Economic Transformation and Diffusion of Authoritarian Power in Syria Samer Abboud Conclusion
Larbi Sadiki teaches courses on Arab and Middle Eastern democratization at the University of Exeter.
Heiko Wimmen is a Doctoral Candidate at the Free University of Berlin and a Fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Studies in Berlin.
Layla Al Zubaidi is Director of the Southern Africa Office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Cape Town.