Publication Year



Middle East, libreralism, Boolean, mobilization


International Relations | Near and Middle Eastern Studies | Political Science


The Middle East stands as a democratic black hole on the world map. No state, save possibly Israel and possibly Turkey, can be considered democratic. From afar it appears unlikely that any liberalization, let alone democratization would take place in the region. While democratization, defined by O'Donnell and Schmitter as a three step process in which, "...rules and structures of citizenship are applied to institutions governed by other principles, expanded to include more people, and cover issues and institutions not previously subject to citizen participation..." has not taken place, liberalization, "the process of redefining and extending rights," has occurred in a number of states. Between 1980 and 2000 eight states experienced clear moments of liberalization. These moments of liberalization are the central focus of this study. Through the use of a Boolean Analysis and case studies an understanding is reached as to the characteristics of liberalization in the Middle East. At its core, this study has three goals. First, this work seeks to create an understanding of the characteristics of Middle Eastern liberalization. Secondly, this study refutes claims made by area studies and religious characteristics. Thirdly, it furthers the process of denaturalizing the concept of democracy by demonstrating how individuals can control the democratization/liberalization process to meet their own ends. Each of these warrants further discussion.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science