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Title: Alter-democratization : a critique of US interventionism in the Middle East
Author: Mirfakhraie, Ramin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2674 2256
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2009
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My thesis, titled ‘Alter-Democratization: A Critique of US Interventionism in the Middle East’, is grounded in political sociology and its principal concern for the phenomenon of power and relations thereof. As such, it explores the dialectics of Bush administration democratic interventionism in the Middle East, with particular focus on Iran. The first part of the thesis deals with the hybrid nature of such interventionism, which is mainly empirical in nature. Here, it is argued that, because of its strategic disposition, the neoconservative drive to ‘democratize’ the Middle East is in fact an attempt at domination rather than democratization. The second part of the thesis deals with the main ontological aspect of the project, namely, the Bush administration’s assumption – as reflected in its Greater Middle East Initiative of 2004 – that Western – especially liberal, market-oriented – conceptions of freedom and democracy are somehow prior, and thus superior, to local conceptions of such phenomena. Accordingly, particular attention is paid, in mainly a cross-hermeneutical comparative manner, to issues relating to social psychology, traditional Islamic political philosophy and jurisprudence, economic conditions, and civil/uncivil society as potential determinants of the future of democracy in the Middle East. Through the use of books, journal articles, and electronic documents, the thesis draws, in quite an interdisciplinary manner, upon both primary and secondary sources of relevant historical and theoretical data, in order to put forward the idea that viable transitions to democracy in the Middle East, including Iran, will have to eventually be an outcome of endogenous processes of reflexivity, education, negotiation, consensus, and socioeconomic development, and that anything other than the above (i.e. so exogenous as to undermine endogenous processes of transition to democracy) will necessarily be dominational and, thus, undemocratic in nature. Consequently, the thesis will be addressing some of the deficiencies inherent in the existing literature on US liberal internationalism, for many of the hitherto accounts of such internationalism have either viewed the topic from an Orientalist perspective, thereby ignoring local preferences and capacities altogether, or have simply overlooked many of the negative consequences of so-called democratic interventionism for the populations and endogenous processes involved.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JZ International relations ; E151 United States (General) ; DS Asia