The prospects of democratization in developing countries: The importance of state-society relationships, 1970-1988.
AuthorAbootalebi, Ali Reza.
KeywordsDemocracy -- Developing countries.
Democracy -- Islamic countries.
Developing countries -- Politics and government.
Islamic countries -- Politics and government.
Committee ChairMuller, Edward N.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study explores the prospects for the emergence of democratic regimes in developing countries in general and in Muslim countries in particular. This question has both intellectual and policy relevance for the 1990s and beyond. The optimistic view about the future of democracy has been challenged by Samuel Huntington who sees the status of democracy in the world in 1984 as not very different from what it was about ten years earlier. Huntington further claims that among the Islamic countries, "particularly those in the Middles East, the prospects for democratic development seem low." Huntington attributes this to the recent Islamic revivalism, particularly Shi'ah fundamentalism, and the poverty of many of the Muslim countries. This study will test and reject the thesis that Islam is directly responsible for the absence of democracy in the Muslim countries. A model to measure the society-state power index is proposed, with a control for Islam, to observe whether Islam plays a neutral role in the process of democratization or it is a force hindering the inauguration of democracy in Muslim countries. Support for a structural explanation of democratization is found. The failure by the developing countries to inaugurate democracy is due to the uneven distribution of socioeconomic and political power resources. The cultural explanations, e.g. the role of religion, are thus rejected. A total of 87 countries are included in a cross national regression analysis, consisting of 31 Muslim countries, 17 newly inaugurated democracies, and 39 other developing countries. The period under investigation covers 1970 through 1988. This study also has implications for the U.S. and other developed Western countries that are concerned with the persistence of authoritarianism in the developing countries. Some policy proposals are offered as to help establish democracy in developing countries.
Degree ProgramPolitical Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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