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Title: Why does God save the king?
Author: Abouzzohour, Yasmina
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 9020
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Inspired by the outcome of the 2010 Arab uprisings, this project explores the causal mechanisms behind regime survival in the monarchies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It is motivated by the following research question: How do Arab monarchies survive active opposition? To answer this question, this study develops a theory about successful regime behavior that leads to survival. This theory highlights how active opposition impacts the process that leads to regime survival, and how survival-seeking regime behavior in turn affects immediate as well as future opposition. It argues that authoritarian monarchs survive by using a specific toolkit to contain (rather than exacerbate) threats. This toolkit consists of various combinations of strategies which rulers choose consistently depending on the level of threat which they face. The latter is determined by the goals and motivations of the opposition, the evolving interrelationship between the regime and different opposition actors, and various exogenous factors. Methodologically, this project is characterized by a mixed methods triangulation approach which analyzes both quantitative and qualitative data separately before converging the results for interpretation. The author's analysis of a wider scope of different but complementary data- from in-depth interviews, archival research, primary sources, trends and datasets- allows her to advance well-substantiated conclusions. Moreover, this study is constructed around a three-part, in-depth explanatory case-study which follows a micro-level approach to within-country and cross-country analysis. Its main theory is built through a fine-grained analysis of Morocco and Oman, confirmed through a cross-country analysis of the remaining six Arab monarchies, and further developed through a study of negative cases such as Iran's Pahlavi monarchy and Gaddafi's Libya. This dissertation makes several important theoretical and empirical contributions to the fields of Comparative and Middle East politics, and its main argument presents a novel and comprehensive explanation about authoritarian persistence.
Supervisor: Bermeo, Nancy Sponsor: Pachachi Award
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Middle East Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political science