Governance

Tunisia At A Crossroads

Key Findings: Perceptions of economic conditions have significantly deteriorated since 2011. Trust in the government and parliament are low, but Tunisians have far more confidence in the security services and the judiciary. Nearly all Tunisians say corruption remains rampant, while fewer than half believe the government is taking steps to address the problem. Desire to emigrate is high and growing,…

In 2011, Egyptians quickly tired of protest. Here’s why that matters for Sudan and Algeria.

….. Public disillusionment with democracy We examined how mobilization in Egypt affected political attitudes after the fall of Mubarak by using local newspaper reporting to map protests, and matching this with data from the Arab Barometer survey. Our findings suggest that within five months of Mubarak’s ouster, Egyptians living in high-protest areas were more likely to associate democracy with socioeconomic…

Social Signals and Participation in the Tunisian Revolution

Revolutionary protests can spread surprisingly rapidly. Social contagion may play a key role in this process: people who observe others participating may be more likely to do so themselves, thus reinforcing the proparticipation signal. We leverage data from two surveys to assess the relationship between exposure to proparticipatory social signals and individual-level participation in the Tunisian revolution. We benchmark these…

A Youth-Driven Virtual Civic Public Sphere for the Arab World

The past three decades have been highly climactic for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The advent of satellite television and the Web, coupled with emerging democratic orientations, marked the region’s first political engagement with digital communications at a global scale. The failure of the digital public sphere, however, to deliver on democratisation promises during the so-called Arab Spring…

Religiosity and Perception About Compatibility of Democracy With Islam: Evidence From the Arab World

Using the data from Arab countries, this article shows that the odds of considering democracy to be consistent with Islam are higher for more religious respondents than that for less religious respondents. This article also shows that this result may be driven by two characteristics of religiosity: frequently reading the Holy Quran (the source of religion) and regularly praying. Our…

The tide that failed to rise: Young people’s politics and social values in and after the Arab uprisings

The story of the ‘Arab Spring’ as a revolt of young people against autocracy does not stand up to survey analysis at country level. Data from the Arab Transformations Survey show that young people were over-represented as participants, but it is necessary to stretch the concept of ‘youth’ into middle age in some countries to say this, there were plenty…

Sharīʻa, Islamism and Arab support for democracy

The Arab Spring and its aftermath reignited the debate over the relationship between Islamism and democracy. This analysis improves upon previous research by demonstrating the crucial contribution which a more precise understanding of the multiple meanings of the concept of Sharīʻa can have on our assessment of the future of democracy in the Arab world. While support for the Sharīʻa-conformity…

Beyond elections: perceptions of democracy in four Arab countries

This article draws on public opinion survey data from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, and Jordan to investigate first, whether a “demand for democracy” in the region exists; second, how to measure it; and third, how respondents understand it. The picture emerging from this analysis is complex, eluding the simple dichotomy between prima facie support and second order incongruence with democracy, which characterises current…

No Arab Bourgeoisie, No Democracy? The Entrepreneurial Middle Class and Democratic Attitudes since the Arab Spring

This study examines support for democracy among a key subgroup of the Arab middle class—the small business community—before and after the start of the Arab Spring. Although historically cast as anti-democratic, we provide evidence that small business owners became more pro-democratic after the start of the Arab Spring. Yet their support for democracy varies according to the presence and type…

Tunisian Politics Splinters as Presidential Election Approaches

A wide range of candidates reflects the country’s increasingly fluid political situation as it tries to consolidate the democratic gains of 2011. After close to 100 candidate applications, Tunisia’s presidential election on 15 September will feature 27 confirmed candidates, reflecting the country’s fluid political situation and an ongoing split between traditional parties and alliances and enduring anti-establishment populism. The election…

Do Arabs Want Democracy?

….. Some might interpret the survey results as demonstrating a lack of demand or a lack of belief in democracy on the part of Arabs. They would likely be wrong, or at least be selectively using data that supports their views. Results from the Arab Barometer’s 2018 survey demonstrate, for example, that Arabs increasingly consider democracy to be the best…