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Title: Islam, Muslims, and liberal democracy in the Middle East : Jordan in comparative perspective
Author: Al-Braizat, Fares Abdelhafez
ISNI:       0000 0001 3405 2499
Awarding Body: University of Kent at Canterbury
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2003
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The aim of this thesis is to examine the role of culture as explanation for variations in support for democracy and authoritarianism in the Middle East. Culture operationalised in terms of religiosity. Islamic culture is measured, here, by subjective and objective Islamic religiosity. Culture has been the most influential factor dominating the literature on problems of democracy in the Middle East. It is the purpose of this work to investigate the extent to which culture is really relevant to the explanation of problems of democracy in the Middle East. This thesis seeks to contribute to knowledge by developing a multicausal theoretical framework in order to examine the propositions of cultural and sociological reductionism regarding the study of democracy and democratization in general and in the Middle East in particular. The proposed framework depends on costbenefit and risk assessment at the individual level linking structural phenomena like socio-economic factors or culture to behaviour. The hypotheses derived from the theoretical framework were tested with original, high quality, representative survey data. These data are cross-cultural / cross-national and the indicators we use have been rigorously tested for validity and reliability to control for culturally specific connotations in survey questions. Also, these data are collected at the individual level and partly compared overtime. This aids us in establishing trends and linking them to a wider set of variables (socio-economic, socio-political, and socio-cultural). When the theoretical framework was tested against the data we uncovered some interesting findings. Monocausal explanations focusing on religion alone are largely refuted. Multivariate analyses, which incorporate all relevant variables in the literature and control for their interactions reveals that cultural variables (Islamic religiosity) are largely irrelevant to the explanation of variations in support for democracy and authoritarianism.
Supervisor: Saalfeld, Thomas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: JA Political science (General) ; B Philosophy (General) ; BL Religion