Barriers to Democracy: The Other Side of Social Capital in Palestine and the Arab World

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Princeton University Press, 2007 - Political Science - 173 pages
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"This is social science at its absolute best. This book uses empirical data from the Arab world to point out flaws in our conventional wisdom about the importance of civil societies in a democracy. Everyone who cares about democratic theory needs to confront these findings, and anyone who wants to understand the failure of American efforts to promote democracy in the Middle East could do no better than start with this book."--Lisa Anderson, Columbia University

"A very impressive and highly original study that is rich in analysis and theoretical insight, not only about Palestinian politics during the Oslo period, but also about the conditions under which civic associations do and do not foster attitudes and behaviors that contribute to democratization in the broader Arab world."--Mark Tessler, University of Michigan

"This book fills an important gap in the wide literature on civil society. It notably expands upon this literature, both substantively, through unique and important survey data, and theoretically, in an argument that asks us to rethink how regime types affect the connections between participation in civic associations and democratic attitudes. By doing so, it not only contributes to the academic literature--which has largely assumed that lessons drawn from democracies can be applied to authoritarian regimes--but it also prompts rethinking in the policy debates over democratization. Academics and policymakers will find much of value in rethinking politics not only in Palestine and the Arab world, but also in authoritarian regimes elsewhere."--Ellen M. Lust-Okar, Yale University

"Taking as a point of departure the substantial work on civil society, Amaney Jamal engages a set of issues that are critical to understanding the paths of and possibilities for democratic transitions. In an academic and policy atmosphere in which building democracy abroad, especially in the Middle East, has become one of the most commonly discussed goals, her book should appeal to a wide audience."--Laurie A. Brand, author of Citizens Abroad: Emigration and the State in the Middle East and North Africa

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About the author (2007)

Amaney A. Jamal is assistant professor of politics at Princeton University. Named a Carnegie Scholar in 2005, she is co-principal investigator of the Arab Global Barometer Project, the first systematic cross-national survey gauging democratic attitudes and behaviors in the Arab world.

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