Determinants of Democratic CItizenship in the Arab World:Gender and Political Participation in Seven Middle Eastern Countries



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What is the structure of democratic citizenship in the Middle East? What are the determinants of democratic attitudes and behaviors of the ordinary citizens under authoritarian regimes? Do these factors vary across gender? Now more than ever, with the eruption of the popular uprisings in many Arab countries, from Egypt and Tunisia to Syria, Libya, and Yemen- it is imperative to understand the nature as well as the limitations of democratic citizenship in this part of the world. Understanding the nature of democratic citizenship in these countries is essential not just for understanding the prospects for genuine democratic transition for the countries in the analysis, but most importantly, to be able to determine the likelihood of success of these countries to actually consolidate and sustain their new fragile democracies (i.e. Yemen, Libya, Egypt and Tunisia). The findings of this research on democratic citizenship in the Middle East significantly contribute to existing literature on democratization, political behavior, and gender studies in the Arab world in several ways. First, this study offers one of the first systematic efforts to uncover the underlying structure of attitudes and behaviors in one of the most understudied regions in the world. It explores the interrelationship between attitudinal versus behavioral dimensions of democratic citizenship in seven Middle Eastern countries. It focuses on investigating determinants of mass attitudes and behaviors in the region and on redefining what kind of democracy people in the Middle East support, and whether mass support for democracy is based on a procedural or economic basis. Second, this study contributes to the literature on gender politics by offering a comprehensive understanding of the roots of gender gap in politics in the Arab world. By systematically testing and analyzing existing survey data in seven Middle Eastern countries, this study provides specific policy prescriptions regarding what really works in the context of the Arab world. Finally, this research contributes to the literature by including context as one of the main explanatory variables in the study of mass democratic norms and behaviors in the region. Contrary to previous theories on the democratic deficit in the Middle East that have specifically focused attention on either cultural or structural explanations, this study offers different sets of explanations to explain the origin of democracy deficit. These explanations take into account the context as well as the peculiarities of the region.



Political behavior, Politics, Middle East, Democratic Citizenship, Gender, Political attitudes, Politics