Exploring the surprising strengths and weaknesses of the Arab state
No region in the world has been more hostile to democracy, more dominated by military and security institutions, or weaker on economic development and inclusive governance than the Middle East. Why have Arab states been so oppressively strong in some areas but so devastatingly weak in others? How do those patterns affect politics, economics, and society across the region? The state stands at the center of the analysis of politics in the Middle East, but has rarely been the primary focus of systematic theoretical analysis.
Making Sense of the Arab State brings together top scholars from diverse theoretical orientations to address some of the most critically important questions facing the region today. The authors grapple with enduring questions such as the uneven development of state capacity, the failures of developmentalism and governance, the centrality of regime security and survival concerns, the excesses of surveillance and control, and the increasing personalization of power. Making Sense of the Arab State will be a must-read for scholars of the Middle East and of comparative politics more broadly.
Steven Heydemann is Ketcham Chair in Middle East Studies and Professor of Government at Smith College and a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
Marc Lynch is Professor of Political Science at The George Washington University.
“Making Sense of the Arab State is an exemplary volume that offers readers the conceptual tools for understanding recent trends in state development in the Arab world. This is a highly original contribution that should be widely read.”- Lisa Blaydes, Stanford University