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Islam, Muslims, and liberal democracy in the Middle East: Jordan in comparative perspective

Al-Braizat, Fares Abdelhafez (2003) Islam, Muslims, and liberal democracy in the Middle East: Jordan in comparative perspective. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86045) (KAR id:86045)

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The aim of this thesis is to examine the role of culture as explanation for variations in support for democracy and authoritarianism in the Middle East. Culture operationalised in terms of religiosity. Islamic culture is measured, here, by subjective and objective Islamic religiosity. Culture has been the most influential factor dominating the literature on problems of democracy in the Middle East. It is the purpose of this work to investigate the extent to which culture is really relevant to the explanation of problems of democracy in the Middle East. This thesis seeks to contribute to knowledge by developing a multicausal theoretical framework in order to examine the propositions of cultural and sociological reductionism regarding the study of democracy and democratization in general and in the Middle East in particular. The proposed framework depends on costbenefit and risk assessment at the individual level linking structural phenomena like socio-economic factors or culture to behaviour. The hypotheses derived from the theoretical framework were tested with original, high quality, representative survey data. These data are cross-cultural / cross-national and the indicators we use have been rigorously tested for validity and reliability to control for culturally specific connotations in survey questions. Also, these data are collected at the individual level and partly compared overtime. This aids us in establishing trends and linking them to a wider set of variables (socio-economic, socio-political, and socio-cultural). When the theoretical framework was tested against the data we uncovered some interesting findings. Monocausal explanations focusing on religion alone are largely refuted. Multivariate analyses, which incorporate all relevant variables in the literature and control for their interactions reveals that cultural variables (Islamic religiosity) are largely irrelevant to the explanation of variations in support for democracy and authoritarianism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Saalfeld, Thomas
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86045
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Islamic culture
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:26 UTC
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2022 17:28 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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