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Title: State-society relations and regional role : comparing Egypt and South Africa
Author: Amer, Rawya M. Tawfik
ISNI:       0000 0004 2735 8598
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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The study explains the regional roles of Egypt and South Africa in the last two decades by reference to the state’s relationship with society, a variable that has long been underplayed in international relations and foreign policy literature. It suggests that the different character of this relationship in each country has shaped the opportunities and constraints affecting the foreign policy choices of both the state and societal institutions in the two countries. The study adopts a cross-disciplinary approach using debates on state capacity and its relationship with regime type in comparative politics and political economy to understand and evaluate the two countries' foreign policies in their respective regions. After analysing the impact of state-society relationships on the regional role conceptions of the state and societal actors, the study compares the performance of these actors in two case studies; the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the case of Egypt and the Zimbabwean crisis in the case of South Africa. It concludes that although the role of each state in resolving its respective regional conflict has been less than effective, the post-apartheid democratic dispensation has provided opportunities for South African social forces to play roles that complemented, checked and balanced the role of the state, compared to their Egyptian counterparts. On the other hand, the soft authoritarian Egyptian state used its role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to maintain the international alliances that helped to sustain its domestic control. This constrained the state's foreign policy options. It made marketing peace as 'a strategic choice' and containing resistance movements the priorities of Egypt's intervention in the Palestinian issue. The co-optation of the Egyptian business community and the exclusion of Islamist forces by the state weakened their roles in conflict resolution, depriving the state of tools of effectiveness. In the case of South Africa, racial politics, the ANC's liberation movement psyche, and the domination of the presidency over foreign policy making have hindered the promotion of NEPAD's principles of democracy and respect for human rights in the case of Zimbabwe. However, South African civil society played a crucial role in supporting its Zimbabwean counterpart, holding the South African state accountable to its foreign policy principles and its democratic institutions, and intervening where the state's role was missing or insufficient.
Supervisor: Mustapha, Abdul Raufu Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: International studies ; Egyptian Politics ; South African Politics ; Egyptian Foreign Policy ; South African Foreign Policy ; Regional Powers