What explains the enduring rule of authoritarian regimes in the Arab world?
Nicola Pratt offers an innovative approach to this recurring question, shedding light on the failure of democratization by examining both the broad dynamics of authoritarianism in the region and the particular role of civil society.
Pratt appraises the part that civil society actors played in the normalization of authoritarianism in the Middle East, the challenges that new organized groups now pose to entrenched Arab regimes, and the varying ways in which those regimes are responding.
She also explores the diversity of conceptions of democracy among nonstate actors.
Arguing against the idea that Arab culture is inherently incompatible with democracy - the concept of Middle East ""exceptionalism"" - she assesses the realistic potential for democratization in the region.